Do you put off getting the dental care you need because going to the dentist makes you feel highly anxious? If so, we have good news for you. Dr. Saliba and Dr. Moukarim of Dental Illusions both hold board certification that allows them to administer oral conscious sedation. Most people refer to this as sleep dentistry. It offers several advantages, including the following:
- The medication allows you to feel relaxed throughout your treatment and makes it easier to tolerate a lengthy procedure
- You can complete a full-mouth restoration or receive multiple treatments in the same visit
- Sedation minimizes discomfort after a dental procedure
Dental Illusions offers IV sedation, nitrous oxide, and oral medications. The latter option includes taking one of several types of prescription drugs for anxiety that fall into the benzodiazepine category. These include drugs such as Ativan, Halcion, Valium, or Xanax. They work by binding to fear receptors in your brain and preventing them from becoming over-active. The two types of benzodiazepines include:
- Anti-anxiety drugs: These pills reduce anxiety by inducing a calmer state of mind and sense of relaxation.
- Sedative-Hypnotics: These pills may bring about a drowsy, sleepy feeling in addition to helping you feel calm.
Benzodiazepines are both anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives. However, some brand names specifically target areas in your brain that induce sleep while others target your fear centers. Typically, higher doses of benzodiazepines have a sedative affect and cause you to become sleepy and lower doses calm anxiety without the sedative affect.
Because this classification of drug also acts as a depressant to the Central Nervous System (CNS), the medication you receive at the dentist can reduce breathing and blood pressure. You should not combine them with any other type of CNS depressant, including alcohol. It’s essential that you follow our recommendations for use of oral sedation medications to ensure you don’t overdose and suffer serious complications.
Please arrange to have a responsible adult drive you home or for someone to accompany you if you use public transportation. Oral sedation drugs can cause mild disorientation, which could place you and others in an unsafe situation.
When to Avoid Benzodiazepines
Since benzodiazepines can affect your heart or liver, we ask that you let your dentist know if you currently have any of these conditions or have had them in the past:
- Drug allergies
- Narrow-angle glaucoma
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Impaired liver or kidney function
- Depression or bipolar disorder
- Any type of psychosis
- Chronic bronchitis
You should also let your dentist know if you are currently pregnant or if you take any other medications, whether prescription or non-prescription. This is to ensure that you don’t have an unsafe drug reaction.