Do you fear your visits to the dentist? Where does this fear stem from? Can you pinpoint the precise moment that your fear began or are you at a loss to explain it? Well, fearing the dentist is a relatively common problem, you’ll be relieved to know. Futhermore, it is estimated that as much as 50% of the population fear the dentist, with many sacrificing good dental health because of it.
This fear can often be attributed to a traumatic experience with the dentist at a young age. You may think that you’re alone in your fear of dentists but we can assure you from experience that you are not.
Can the Dentist put me to Sleep for Treatment?
The short answer to this question is ‘Yes’, your dentist can put you to sleep for treatment. However, a technique known as ‘conscious sedation’ has replaced general anaesthesia in modern dentistry. Conscious sedation treatment involves a single drug given intravenously which has multiple effects. These effects include anxiolytic (relieves anxiety), sedative (calms and induces sleep) and amnesic (memory loss). Once in the sedative state, pain control is given to the patient by local anaesthetic.
Very quickly after receiving the sedative, you will begin to feel drowsy and relaxed. Your breathing will slow and your blood pressure may drop slightly. You will essentially be asleep but may be able to respond to people in the room. The procedure is as effective as general anaesthesia and is considered a safer alternative. Your dentist/dental nurse will monitor your breathing throughout the procedure and you will have almost complete memory loss.
Options for Conscious Sedation
With conscious sedation, there are a range of safe options available as follows:
- Intravenous Sedation – The medicine is administered intravenously and takes effect immediately
- Gaseous Sedation – A carefully calibrated mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen is administered through a nose piece
- Oral Sedation – Temazepam is administered orally prior to treatment
With both intravenous and oral sedation, you will require a chaperone to accompany you home following treatment. Gaseous sedation is the only form of sedation where driving is permitted after treatment.
Our Qualifications & Experience at Shields Dental & Orthodontic Clinic Limerick
Conor Shields, principal of Shields, has a postgraduate diploma from Guys Dental Hospital in London and has over 20 years of extensive experience in conscious sedation. Conor is extremely patient and has spent many years putting nervous patients at ease regarding their treatment. You can read more about our dental sedation procedures here. We are very happy to discuss the procedure with you in more detail if you would like to contact us today.