Sedation Dentistry: Easing anxiety for our periodontal patients
There are few things that I fear – snakes, spiders, heights and dental surgery. When I explained this to the team at Periodontal Associates in Mississauga, Ontario, they assured me that they have a variety of sedation dentistry techniques to make me comfortable during my dental implant procedure.
I was also assured that I wasn’t alone. It has been estimated that more than one million Canadian adults rate themselves as “very afraid” or “terrified” regarding seeing the dentist, with another two million “somewhat afraid.” (Source: Chanpong et al, 2005). My periodontist told me that the level of anxiety often increases when talking about more serious oral health issues and their team is ex-perienced at helping calm patient anxieties from the most basic discomfort to those with intense fear.
I’m somewhere in the middle.
While Dr. Mohamed talked with me about my past dental experiences, it became clear that my anxiety was based on dental visits from my childhood. He assured me that some with similar anxi-ety levels saw a decline in their anxiety as they had more positive dental experiences. That was a relief.
For now, we decided that moderate sedation would be the best option for my procedure. That meant that I could still talk, hear and respond, but would feel drowsy and as a bonus, I remem-bered little of the procedure when it was all done. Other types of sedation we discussed were:
Minimal sedation: This is the lightest form of sedation where you are able to walk, talk and breathe normally but in a more relaxed state. This is for those who have lower levels of anxiety or receiving more simple dental procedures.
Deep sedation: This is for the truly anxious, high fear patients only. You are asleep and can still breathe on your own but can’t remember anything about the procedure afterwards. Local anes-thetic needs to be administered to limit the responsiveness of your pain reflexes.
General anesthesia: You are unconscious and cannot feel pain; your reflexes are absent and you need assistance in breathing. This is the deepest level of sedation dentistry and used for more complex procedures and much less frequently.
I can honestly say that for the first time following a dental procedure, I was very calm and pleased with the results. While there was still some side effects and minimal pain from the dental implant procedure itself, thanks to my experienced periodontal team, I was knowledgeable about after care and recovered quickly.
While I can’t say that I’m over my anxiety, I wouldn’t hesitate to visit the Periodontal Associates team again for any future procedure. They were true professionals and made sure I was comfort-able at every stage of my procedure.
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