Does your anxiety level skyrocket at the mere thought of visiting your dentist? If you’ve tried all possible means to help you cope with fear and yet they still don’t work, your dentist may talk you through sedation dentistry. On a scale of one to 10, how anxious are you to show up during your scheduled dental appointment? Surprisingly, many patients say 10. In fact, many of them cancel their appointments even if it means sacrificing their oral health.
We understand that your emotions can be difficult to control, which is why we believe in the power of sedative drugs. These drugs aim to reduce your agitation and relax your body and mind so you can sit calmly in the dental chair while your dentist works to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
What Are the Sedative Drugs Commonly Used By Dentists?
What Is Conscious Sedation?
Conscious sedation is a way of relieving your anxiety by using sedative drugs. As the name implies, you’ll still be conscious even though you are sedated. However, you’ll be less aware of the procedure and may not remember much of what happened afterwards. It is different from general anesthesia, wherein you’ll be completely asleep. General anesthesia is recommended for extensive and multiple procedures.
What Drugs Are Used in Conscious Sedation?
- Midazolam – The drug can help decrease your anxiety and may also cause temporary memory loss. You’ll feel the effect in less than three minutes if it is administered through your vein. The sedation can last between an hour to 120 minutes.
The dosage varies from person to person as it depends on weight, current medications, medical condition and the patient’s response to therapy. You should only take this medication as your dentist prescribes to prevent addiction. The risk of addiction is higher for patients with a substance abuse disorder.
The Food and Drug Administration allows adults and children to use midazolam as long as the drug is administered by a medical professional. Some of the side effects of the drug include self-injury, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, restlessness, and disorientation.
- Dexmedetomidine – This type of drug is used to put you to sleep. It is also administered via your vein throughout the course of the procedure. Your dentist can still communicate with you even while you are sedated.
The dosage is low compared to ketamine because it can affect your heart rate and breathing. Patients with high blood pressure, old age, and those who have diabetes are not suitable to receive this drug.
- Ketamine – this drug is a product of phencyclidine, which is a psychedelic drug. The JDAPM reports that this drug has the power to relieve your pain and lessen your memory of the dental procedure. Even if this drug relaxes you, your cardiovascular reflexes and breathing remain the same.
It is usually administered through your vein, and the effect can be felt in less than a minute. One dose of ketamine can last up to 10 minutes. Since it only lasts for a short time, it’s an ideal drug for short procedures. Typically, dentists combine it with other medications.
- Propofol – Another drug dentists use to sedate highly anxious patients is propofol. It’s a drug that’s administered through your vein.
According to the Journal of Dental Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, propofol contains egg lecithin, glycerol, and soybean oil, which means injecting the drug may cause pain unless your dentist combines an anesthetic with the drug.
Propofol acts fast. In as little as 100 seconds, you can already feel its effect. Since your body quickly eliminates the medication, your dentist will continuously administer it throughout the procedure.
The Food and Drug Administration considers ketamine safe and effective for patients under 16 years old. However, the drug is not advisable for people who are sensitive to the drug.
What Type of Sedation Drug Is Best for Me?
Every drug has its fair share of pros and cons. It’s also important to mention that not everyone responds to a specific drug the same way. The best way to know what type of drug is best for you is to talk to your dentist. Your dentist will ask you questions and discuss the options that will help meet your needs.
Are You Interested in Sedation Dentistry?
There are plenty of reasons why patients are afraid to go to the dentist. At Tyron Family Dentistry, we’ll help you feel relaxed during your visit. Our goal is to create an environment that keeps you comfortable during your stay.
We take extra steps to ensure that you are safely cared for during your sedation experience. Our team is highly trained to monitor you throughout the procedure. The sedatives we administer are kept at a safe and effective level. Contact us today if you want to learn more.