Stress has a negative effect on your body and mind, and it's best to minimize stress whenever possible. Unfortunately for people with dental phobias, relaxing can be almost impossible when you're afraid of the dentist's office. Luckily, there are remedies available for even the most nervous patient.
1. Laughing Gas
The most common name for this medication is laughing gas, but it's more formally known as nitrous oxide. It's a substance that is meant to be inhaled, which has an anxiolytic effect on patients. People who have experienced it sometimes say that it feels like floating. While you're under the influence of laughing gas, you will be completely aware, but you will feel more relaxed. Laughing gas is the preferred method of sedation for people who drive themselves to the dental office, since its effects stop as soon as you stop breathing the gas; that means there is no lingering impairment that will keep you from driving home.
Benzodiazepines are often prescribed as anti-anxiety medication. People with anxiety disorders are sometimes prescribed this medication to take on a regular basis, but your dentist will be able to prescribe you a single pill for use during your dental appointment. For best results, you should take the medication before arriving at the dentist's office, since it will take some time to begin working. Oral sedation can make you sleepy, so you should avoid driving. Don't schedule anything strenuous for the rest of the day, since you may still feel groggy after your appointment ends.
3. IV Sedation
If you require a deeper level of sedation, you can consider intravenous sedation. Before your dental appointment, a nurse will place an IV catheter in your arm or wrist. You'll be given a sedative intravenously, which will help you relax. You should still be conscious during IV sedation, but you may not remember the procedure later. Amnesic drugs are sometimes mixed into the sedative blend in order to achieve this effect.
4. Sleep Dentistry
Sleep dentistry is the deepest form of dental sedation. During this type of sedation, you will be completely unconscious. Sleep dentistry is often reserved for more intensive procedures, such as dental extractions, since general anesthesia carries some risks. However, if your dental phobia is severe, this may be an option for you. Discuss it with your dentist, and find out if they think you're a good candidate for sleep dentistry.