Some estimates show that 80% of Americans have at least some anxiety about dental appointments. Sedation dentistry can help. In Plano, TX Dr. Miranda Lacy is a female dentist who provides sedation to help you remain calm and have productive dental visits. But should you sedate yourself before your dental appointment? Doing so can be risky. And there are several reasons you should allow your dentist provide medication to help you relax.
1. How Much Sedation Do You Need?
Your dentist can make an accurate determination. There are several factors that affect how much sedation you need.
- Complexity and length of your dental procedure
- Your anxiety level
- Your medical and prescription history
If you decide to self-medicate for sedation before your dental appointment, you can take too much or too little of the medication. Either condition won’t agree with your dental procedure.
- Too little – You won’t be relaxed enough, and your dentist won’t be able to proceed with treatment.
- Too much – You won’t be able to respond to your dentist’s questions or instructions.
- Adequate sedation – It relaxes you enough to relieve anxiety, yet allows you to respond to your dentist during treatment. It also decreases your sensitivity to pain. Your relaxed state will increase the amount of dental work that can be completed in a single visit.
2. Will Your Own Anti-Anxiety Medication Work?
Dr. Lacy provides sedation with either nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation.
- Nitrous oxide – It is colorless, odorless gas, also known as laughing gas. You breathe it in to achieve a sense of calmness and well-being.
- Oral conscious sedation – Dr. Lacy will give you an anti-anxiety pill to take in advance of your appointment.
If you already take anti-anxiety medication, let Dr. Lacy know the name of the medication, dosage, and how often you take it.
3. What about DIY Sedation before a Dental Appointment?
There are various ways that people try to sedation themselves before a dental appointment. But you shouldn’t try any of them.
- Smoking – Smoking of any kind—whether it’s tobacco or marijuana—causes inflammation and slows down the healing process. Depending on the type of dental procedure you receive (e.g., dental implants to replace missing teeth, extractions), your dentist will recommend that you stop smoking at least a few weeks before. Mental impairment from smoking marijuana can affect your judgment if the dentist asks you to make an unexpected decision during a dental procedure.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can thin blood, inhibit blood clotting, depress the central nervous system, and cause rapid or irregular heartbeat. Those factors can negatively affect any dental procedure. Don’t use alcohol to help you relax before a dental appointment.
- Prescribed sedatives – You must fully disclose your current prescriptions, prescription history, frequency, and dosage when you complete patient forms for the dentist. Even if you’re an existing patient, keep your dentist informed about any new medications you take. A record of your prescriptions will help Dr. Lacy determine which type of sedation medication to use for your dental appointment. If necessary, she will consult with the prescribing doctor.
Sedation dentists are trained to safely administer medication before your dental appointment. Don’t try to do it yourself. If you’re interested in learning about your options, call us to request an appointment, or complete our Request an Appointment form.
This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female sedation dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.