For some people the thought of sitting in a dentist's chair is a cause for fear and anxiety. It's estimated that anywhere from 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid the dentist due to their fear or anxiety. This means that millions of Americans miss out on dental care each year. Avoiding the dentist can lead to major repercussions in terms of oral health down the road. Failure to get regular cleanings and routine dental work can lead to tooth loss and infection. For those who struggle with fear and anxiety, sedation dentistry may be the solution. Here are three things to know.
Different Levels Of Sedation
When it comes to sedation dentistry, there are different levels of sedation to choose from. Minimal sedation is used to help the patient relax, and it wears off quickly. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is used for minimum sedation. Moderate sedation is often achieved using the medication Halcion or medicine administered intravenously. Both forms of moderate sedation reduce anxiety and make the patient drowsy. Deep sedation involves medication that makes the patient unconscious or general anesthesia. Deep sedation is usually reserved for extensive dental work or for people with severe fear and anxiety.
It Can Get Expensive
Sedation dentistry is rarely covered by dental insurance, which means the patient is on the hook for the total cost. Nitrous oxide can cost anywhere from $25 to $200. Anti-anxiety medication and other types of oral sedation cost around $150 to $500. Intravenous sedation starts at around $375 for the first 30 minutes and increases in price from there. General anesthesia costs $400 on average for the first 30 minutes with additional fees tacked on if the procedure is longer than half an hour.
Transportation Is Necessary
While sedation can help patients who are scared or anxious about visiting the dentist, it can also be a hassle. Transportation will be needed from the dentist's office after receiving moderate or deep sedation. Patients who receive nitrous oxide are usually able to drive themselves home. Sedation dentistry also means needing to take time off from school or work since the patient will be slightly impaired for a few hours after the procedure. It's necessary to keep these things in mind when seeking out sedation dentistry.
For those who have trouble visiting the dentist due to fear or anxiety, sedation dentistry can be a big help. However, it's important to keep a few things in mind. There are various levels of sedation, and some patients may require higher levels of sedation than others. It can also be expensive and is rarely covered by insurance. For those receiving moderation or deep sedation, transportation from the dentist's office will be required.