At Dental Loft, we understand that many patients struggle with dental anxiety. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as one-in-three patients in the United States has a fear of the dental chair. In many cases, this anxiety develops as a result of a traumatic or painful experience during a previous dental procedure.
If you’ve been avoiding the dentist due to anxiety or embarrassment, sedation can help. It will keep you calm, in a deep state of relaxation, and you will likely not remember your visit afterward. Dr. Claudia Vargas is highly trained in sedation dentistry and holds an anesthesia permit issued by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners to treat even the most fearful patients comfortably and safely.
Anxiety’s Effect on Pain
Experienced sedation dentists like Dr. Vargas understand that there is a curious relationship between anxiety and pain. Often, when a patient is extremely nervous, local anesthetics such as novocain are less effective, and breakthrough pain can occur. Eliminating your anxiety with a sedative allows the numbing medication to work effectively. As an added bonus, you probably won’t even be aware of the injection.
The Sedation Spectrum
Dr. Vargas offers various levels of sedation to accommodate your specific needs.
Nitrous Oxide Gas
Nitrous oxide gas is a mild but effective relaxant. It works best for patients with minor dental anxiety or for those who have trouble getting numb. You will breathe the gas through a mask placed over your nose. Dr. Vargas can adjust the concentration of the gas until you reach the desired level of sedation. Because the effects wear off in a matter of minutes, you will be able to resume your normal activities immediately after your appointment.
Oral Sedation Dentistry
If you struggle with more intense dental anxiety, Dr. Vargas may recommend oral sedation. You will be given a pill to take prior to your appointment. The medication will make you feel very relaxed and mildly euphoric. It will also inhibit your short term memory, so you will probably not remember your appointment afterwards. You will still be able to respond to commands throughout your treatment, although you may feel as though you’ve slept through it. It will take several hours for the effects of the medication to wear off completely, so you’ll need to make arrangements to have someone accompany you to and from your appointment.
IV Sedation Dentistry
For extreme anxiety or especially stressful appointments, Dr. Vargas will work with an anesthesiologist to administer intravenous medication. An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in your arm, and the anesthesiologist will deliver a medication to put you in a dreamlike state. As with oral sedation, you will still be able to breathe on your own and respond to Dr. Vargas’ requests to open your mouth or turn your head. You will not remember your appointment, and time may feel as though it has moved impossibly fast. You will need someone to take you home, and you may feel drowsy for several hours after your treatment.
After a few appointments with a sedation dentist like Dr. Vargas, you may notice your anxiety becoming more and more manageable as you begin to overcome your fears. Over time, you may need gradually less sedation at your appointments, and eventually none at all.
To schedule a visit with Dr. Vargas, please request an appointment online or call Dental Loft at 214-949-4712.