Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for Sedation Dentistry. Drs. Janet and Mike are certified to administer (oral conscious) sedation, commonly referred to as “Relaxed Dentistry.”
Advantages to patients include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family, including Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain. Your primary care physician can prescribe an appropriate medication and an escort is required for your appointment.
There are two different types of benzodiazepines:
- Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is actually a form of hypnosis which is a form of physiological sleep.
- Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs that relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation. Our practice uses Halcion/Triazolam at a prescription level to minimize anxiety.
While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some target areas within the brain that focus on sleep. Others specifically 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 is important that you use 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 not to take benzodiazepines:
Some of these drugs can affect your liver and heart. It’s important to check with your practitioner and/or pharmacist. 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/psychosis, chronic bronchitis, and some other conditions. Please let us know if you are taking other medications because there could be possible drug interactions.