Relaxing in the Dental Office
Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for dental sedation. Dr. Kucey, Registered Prosthodontist, administers (oral conscious) sedation using safe monitoring equipment for your oxygen levels, blood pressure, and pulse. Contact us today.
Advantages to patients include:
• You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure
• Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur during the same visit
• Helps with gagging
• Less discomfort after treatment
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family, which includes drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
There are two different types of benzodiazepines:
• Sedative-hypnotics – These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness.
• Anti-anxiety drugs – These are drugs which relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.
While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some are highly targeted at areas within the brain which focus on sleep. Others act in a more specific way and target fear centers in the brain. In most cases, higher doses act as sedatives and induce sleep, while in lower doses they reduce anxiety without sedation. Benzodiazepines are also central nervous system (CNS) depressants (i.e. there can be a decline in blood pressure and breathing). It is important to note that they shouldn’t be mixed with other CNS depressants such as alcohol. It’s important that you utilize the dose your dentist or doctor recommends. It is possible to overdose, and overdoses could lower your breathing to dangerously low levels, which could result in coma or death.
Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Make sure you have an escort, even if you traveled by bus or foot. It’s easy to become disorientated.
When to Avoid Benzodiazepines
Some of these drugs can affect the liver and heart. Its important to check with your practitioner and/or pharmacist. You should be sure to inform your doctor or dentist if any of the following apply: known allergy to the drug, narrow-angle glaucoma, pregnancy, severe respiratory disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), impaired kidney or liver function, depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses, chronic bronchitis, and some other conditions. It’s also important to let us know if you are taking other medications. There could be possible drug interactions.