2 Steps To Help Your Sedation Dentist Provide The Right Oral Sedative To Calm Your Dental Fear

Sedation dentistry is a great asset to you if you fear dental appointments in general or only specific procedures. Sedatives used in dentistry are very safe and effective, and they can help you get your oral health back on track if you have skipped dental appointments due to overwhelming anxiety. If you have requested gentle oral sedation to help calm your nerves during your dental procedure, but remain fully awake, then be sure to follow these two steps to help your dentist provide the right medication and dose to keep you calm, yet awake, during your dental appointment. 

1. Inform Your Dentist of Every Medication and Supplement You Take Even Occasionally

When visiting a new dentist, it is standard procedure for you to fill out a form that has you list every single medication and supplement you are currently taking. While this information is important for your dentist to have for many reasons, it is especially important for your dental care provider to know if you are taking medications or supplements that may affect the dosage of sedation medication you are given before your procedure. 

When filling out these forms, you may be unsure whether to report medicines or supplements you take only occasionally, such as a sleep aid, be sure to include those on your report as well. Your dentist may need to request that you don't take a specific supplement before your appointment if it interacts with the sedation medication he or she plans to administer, or your dentist may simply adjust the dose of the medication they give you if you cannot skip this dose.   

For example, your dentist may give you an oral sedative called triazolam to relax you during your procedure. If you take diphenhydramine occasionally, which is an over-the-counter sleep aid and allergy medication, your dentist needs to know. There is a minor drug interaction between the two that can lead to excess dizziness and drowsiness when the two are combined. He or she may simply need to lower your triazolam dosage on the day of the procedure to keep you from falling asleep if you must take diphenhydramine that day or may consider prescribing an alternate sedative. 

2. Help Your Sedative Perform Its Job Correctly

Along with ensuring your medication does not put you to sleep during your dental procedure, if that is not your or your dentist's goal, you do also want to ensure the sedative does keep you as calm as possible. Since the type of medication typically given as a calming agent is a benzodiazepine, make sure to alert your dentist if you have taken a medication of that class in the past and had a reaction called a paradoxical reaction. While somewhat rare, you would know if you experienced it in the past when taking a benzodiazepine if the medication actually made you more alert instead of relaxing you. If suspected that you may have this type of reaction again, your dentist may opt to prescribe a different type of sedative less likely to cause this reaction again. 

Also, avoid drinking the night before your appointment. Not only is drinking the night before a dental procedure dangerous, but having an alcohol "hangover" can also cause you to feel even more anxiety before your appointment that can prevent the dosage of medication your dentist calculated precisely from calming you sufficiently. Excess caffeine intake before your appointment should be avoided for the same reason, as caffeine can increase anxiety. 

If you are opting for gentle sedation dentistry during your next appointment to help calm the anxiety that has been keeping you from visiting the dentist as often as you should, then that is a great choice. Just be sure to follow these steps to help your dentist give you the right medication and dosage to keep you calm and awake, as you desire.