Modern dental care has reduced oral issues for many people, but not everyone takes advantage of this. There are various reasons for this such as low income or the belief that the problem is not as bad as it feels. However, the most common reason that people avoid dental offices is fear. A surprising number of patients have a deep-seated fear of the dentist, their tools or the office itself. Sadly, this prevents them from having their teeth repaired until the problem has gotten out-of-hand. Thankfully, there are things that can be done to remedy this issue such as sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is the use of various analgesics and anxiety controlling medications to make the visit more comfortable. They range from the simple use of nitrous-oxide gas to mild sedatives that cause a light sleep state and may even have amnesic properties. The exact medication will depend on the patients level of anxiety and the length of the procedure. Other techniques are available for those patients with minimal anxiety issues including distraction devices such as music or video. Delivery of the anxiety medication will also vary from a pill given approximately an hour before the procedure to intravenous delivery. Interestingly, the colloquial term for this treatment is sleep dentistry, but most patients are actually awake during their procedures. Sleep dentistry more aptly describes the use of general anesthesia, which is not common in dental offices.
One procedure where heavy sedation is usually required is dental implants. An implant is an artificial root that replaces an extracted tooth or one that has been lost. The most common material for this anchor or stud is titanium because the metal is inert and can actually improve bone growth. There are two types of implanted studs. The first is a large stud used for molars or as anchoring devices for dental appliances. This anchor is usually implanted during a surgical procedure. The other type of stud is smaller and can be inserted in the office. The process requires a small hole drilled through the gum and bone tissue and the immediate insertion of the anchor. This method of insertion tends to heal faster and can be used for most implant purposes.