Let’s face it, nobody likes the thought of going to the dentist, but just imagine if that dislike, was instead replaced with an innate fear or phobia. If you can relate to this, then you’re certainly not alone. Almost 1 in 3 people in the UK suffer from some form of anxiety and almost 1 in 7 develop a dental phobia. The good news is that dental sedation in the UK helps people – just like you – to receive the treatment they need when they need it most.
Ultimately, whether you need an emergency dentist in Manchester or are considering dental implants, our Manchester dentist can help with the aid of modern and comfortable sedation techniques.
But before we get into discussing the various techniques, it’s worth taking time to explain what dental phobia is and how/why it occurs.
There are varying degrees of dental fear, that range from mild uneasiness – experienced by many thousands of people – through to acute anxiety and even, full-blown panic attacks. If a person won’t for whatever reason visit the dentist, despite being in need of treatment – and it isn’t cash related – then they may have dental phobia.
So what triggers it?
Particular fears tend to vary from person to person. For some, it’s the sound of the dental drill or the thought of needles in and around sensitive areas of the mouth. For others, it might be a fear of gagging when asked to open wide or alternatively, it could simply be the thought of not being in full control.
Often but not always, that fear or anxiety stems from childhood experiences where a traumatic visit may have left them with feelings of anxiety. For others that fear may have links to deeper rooted issues. Either way, many of these problems can be managed or even overcome through adopting:
• Relaxation techniques
• Therapy programs
• Self-healing programs and even,
Before we go into how dental sedation helps, we need to clear up some confusion…
When we talk about dental sedation in the UK it can mean conscious sedation where a patient remains awake, but it can also mean general anaesthesia where a patient is fully asleep during a surgical procedure. The confusion lies in the fact that all dental sedation is often (and incorrectly) referred to as ‘sleep dentistry’ yet, in many instances, this isn’t the case.
While dental (or conscious) sedation uses certain types of gentle medication in various guises to help patients relax during treatments, general anaesthesia utilises stronger medications to ensure the patient remains asleep. In fact, the term ‘dental sedation’ covers all levels of sedation including:
• Minimal sedation – whereby the patient remains fully awake but relaxed
• Moderate or conscious sedation – Where the patient is awake but won’t remember much about the procedure
• Deep sedation – where the patient is on the edge of consciousness but can easily be awakened and,
• General anaesthesia – when a patient is completely unconscious
The overall goal of dental sedation is to provide the utmost relaxation and comfort to the patient so that they can get the treatment they need. Whether that’s a simple tooth filling, the need to see an emergency dentist in Manchester for a root canal, or when undergoing the latest missing tooth replacement such as dental implants, Manchester patients can rest assured that modern dental sedation is both proven and safe.
The types of sedation used in UK dentistry depends upon the person, their circumstances, and the treatment, and include:
Inhaled minimal sedation – This is one of the most commonly used forms of dental sedation whereby a patient inhales or breathes in nitrous oxide. More commonly known as ‘laughing gas’ or ‘happy gas’ it is combined with oxygen and inhaled via a mask which is placed over the nose. Once inhaled, it quickly puts you in a relaxed and euphoric state. Your dentist will be able to control the amount of gas given and it tends to wear off very quickly, so patients can drive themselves home after the event, should they choose to.
Moderate IV sedation – As the name suggests, this is a mild sedative delivered intravenously, via a cannula usually placed in the back of the hand. Because the sedative is received via a vein, the relaxing, calming effects occur pretty quickly.
This is often used during minimally invasive to moderately invasive procedures such as dental implants in Manchester where the patient needs to be placed in deeper sedation, yet still remain awake.
As such the patient will feel calm and relaxed but is unlikely to remember too much about the treatment. It can take a while longer for the patient to return back to normal – usually around 30 minutes to 1 hour – so a little recovery time is needed in these circumstances.
Enteral or oral sedation – This comes in the form of a liquid or pill that you take orally. Depending upon the strength or the medication, dental sedation in the UK of this nature can either be mild or moderate but it isn’t as commonly used. That said, it can provide a welcoming form of sedation for those who can’t tolerate needles (IV sedation) or indeed any form of mask placed over the nose or mouth (sedation by nitrous oxide).
Typically, the drug of choice is a mild form of a Valium-like medication known as Halcion and is usually ingested around 1 hour before a procedure or treatment.
Deep sedation/general anaesthesia – These medications -usually delivered intravenously – will put you in a deep sleep and usually patients cannot be awakened until the effects of the anaesthetic wear off. This type of sedation is effective for those needing more invasive treatments such as multiple wisdom teeth removal. Unlike other forms of dental sedation in the UK, general anaesthesia can leave you feeling somewhat groggy for a considerable time afterwards and needs to be administered by a surgeon or anaesthetist
Who can have sedation dentistry in the UK?
Sedation dentistry is ideal for those with real anxiety or fear that may otherwise prevent them from visiting the dentist. In addition, sedation dentistry may also be an option for those who:
• Need a large amount of dental work
• Have a problematic gag reflex
• Have very sensitive teeth or
• Can’t sit still in the dental chair
In some instances, children can be given sedation dentistry if they are terrified about a dental visit or won’t remain still in the dental chair. The good news is that nitrous oxide is proven to be safe in children
Finally, how safe is dental sedation in the UK overall?
The answer is very, especially if you choose an experienced dentist. That said, for certain people with heart problems, those who are obese or suffer from sleep apnoea, they should always consult their local GP before undergoing any form of sedation.
So, there you have it…
If you need an emergency dentist in Manchester or you are considering undergoing dental implants in Manchester and are nervous or anxious, then come and talk to the team about dental sedation in the UK
At Church Road Dental and Cosmetics Dr Shi Karim and the team welcome nervous or anxious patients, so talk to us about how we can help. Book a consultation today on 0161 486 0743 and get the treatment you need.