Have Phobia Before Dental Implant Surgery? Why IV Sedation May Be The Fear-Free Answer

Up to eight percent of U.S. residents have dental phobia significant enough to keep them from visiting the dentist when it's necessary. This is a bad thing when it comes to missing regular checkups, but it's even worse when it means that you might miss your dental implant surgery. Implant dentures are essential for normal eating and talking - and they can give you a real confidence boost since they improve your appearance. It is natural to be a bit apprehensive before dental implant surgery. However, if you have a phobia that is making you consider skipping the whole appointment, it's time to take action. IV sedation might be the best way to make your dental implant surgery fear-free.

The Traditional Sedation Method: Nitrous Oxide

Many dentists use Nitrous oxide for sedation when installing new dental implants, but this sedation type may simply not be sufficient for people with extreme dental fear. Nitrous oxide helps alleviate both pain and anxiety, but it allows the patient to remain fully awake during the implant surgery. For people with dental phobia, this might not be a good thing.

Hearing the dental drill and watching the dentist enter the mouth with sharp, pointy steel objects could make anyone panic, even if they don't actually feel pain. Some people may even become hyper-aware of everything going on while they're under Nitrous Oxide sedation, purely out of extreme dental fear. For patients like this, there is a better answer: IV sedation.

The IV Sedation Difference

Sedation surgery for dental implants can be done in a couple of ways: Oral medication or intravenous medication. With oral medications, the patient will usually achieve significant relaxation but will not generally fall asleep. The medications that may be administered orally for the purpose of sedation dentistry typically include those in the benzodiazepine family, including:

  • Xanax

  • Valium

  • Halcion

  • Ativan

While oral sedation can certainly help people suffering from dental anxiety, it does not allow for the same degree of sedation that intravenous mediation does.

WIth IV sedation, the same medications listed above are used, but other medications like opioid painkillers are often added. With the immediate delivery that IV delivery offers, the drugs take effect faster and allow for much faster relaxation. Thanks to the addition of the painkillers, the patient is typically so relaxed as to fall into a state that some dentists refer to as "twilight sleep."

In twilight sleep, the patient is extremely drowsy and relaxed, but is still awake enough to follow simple instructions from the dentist. It is common for patients who undergo this type of sedation to have memory loss regarding the dental surgery. The memory loss is confined to the time of the surgery and the short period afterwards while the drugs wear off.

While memory loss isn't something you'd look forward to ordinarily, when it comes to a dreaded dental surgery it might just be the perfect answer. Contact a clinic like Bellingham Denture Clinic to learn more.