How anaesthesia helps dental anxiety14 Apr 2021
Sometimes, going to the dentist can feel a little nerve wracking. There’s no shame in experiencing dental anxiety, but the truth is—with modern anaesthesia and the incredible advances in dental technology we’ve seen in recent years, a trip to the dentist has never been more comfortable.
Let’s take a closer look at anaesthesia and how it can make your next dentist appointment as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible.
What is anaesthesia?
Anaesthesia is a safe and effective pain management solution that allows patients to receive dental treatment without discomfort.
In short, it’s medicine that helps people relax, feel no pain or even go to sleep throughout their dental treatment. Depending on your unique needs, anaesthesia can be as simple as numbing an area around a tooth, or more complex, such as putting you to sleep for a while so that your dentist can perform surgery.
How does anaesthesia work?
Anaesthesia works by temporarily blocking the signals that pass along your nerves to the brain. Once the medicine wears off, normal sensations return. In dentistry we use different levels of anaesthesia depending on the treatment requirements or nervousness of the patient.
You may have heard inhaled sedation referred to as laughing gas. Patients inhale a very safe gas called nitrous oxide and immediately feel euphoric and a little sleepy, but are aware of their surroundings and will respond to the dentist. Inhaled sedation is mostly used in general dentistry and children’s dentistry—and may be a good option if you have a needle phobia.
Local anaesthesia is administered locally to a treatment site— such as a tooth that requires a filling— to numb the area before the dentist begins. With local anaesthesia, patients still have an awareness of their surroundings, will remember their treatment and can respond to their dentist as normal. Local anaesthesia is used in many dentistry treatments including general and cosmetic dentistry as well as surgical treatments such as dental implants.
Twilight sedation is a mild dose of general anaesthesia, where the patient is sedated but not asleep. Twilight sedation feels very relaxing but it’s unlikely that you’ll have any memory of your treatment or the period immediately after it.
If a patient requires oral surgery or is particularly anxious, they may require a general anaesthesia. With general anaesthesia, patients are put to sleep in a safe way, so that they have no awareness or memory of their experience. Not all dental clinics offer general anaesthesia on-site as it requires a highly trained anaesthesia specialist to perform it. These specialists are normally located at a hospital or oral surgery.
At Bond Street, we have a fully equipped surgery and anaesthesia specialist available on-site so that our patients never have to leave the comfort of our clinic. This is how we’re able to perform our signature All-on-4® treatment and other oral surgery requirements in house.
How long does it take for dental anaesthesia to wear off?
The length of time that it takes for dental anaesthesia to wear off depends on the type used, your activity after treatment and how much you’ve been administered. If you require twilight or general anaesthesia, your dentist will give you a detailed explanation on what to expect and how much downtime you may require after your anaesthesia.
With local anaesthesia, you can expect the area to feel numb for approximately 2-3 hours.
Do I need to prepare for anaesthesia?
If you come to the dentist for inhaled anaesthesia or local anaesthesia, you don’t have to do anything to prepare for your treatment. Simply attend your appointment as normal and follow any instructions given to you by your dentist.
However, if you’re coming in for twilight or general anaesthesia, your dentist will supply you with a support pack with all the information you’ll require to prepare for your anaesthesia. Keep in mind that fasting before your treatment will be required.
How can dental anaesthesia make me feel more comfortable and less anxious?
If you experience dental anxiety, don’t be ashamed to speak to your dentist about it. They will discuss the different options available to help calm your nerves and make you feel as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, just talking about what to expect can be enough to ease the mind—they may even suggest some cognitive exercises you can practice to help you relax.
However, if your nerves are more severe, anaesthesia may be a good option for you. This way you can feel comfortable, confident and relaxed going into your treatment knowing you will feel as little sensation as possible.
Why choose Bond Street Dental for dental anaesthesia
If you’re experiencing dental nerves, don’t avoid necessary treatments. Doing so will only lead to pain or expensive treatments later down the track. Instead, come visit the experienced Bond Street Dental team at our fully equipped surgery in the heart of South Yarra, Melbourne.
As well as being one of the few Melbourne clinics who can offer general anaesthesia in-house, our team of dentists and surgeons are highly sought after for their experience making patients feel comfortable, safe and welcomed.
Book an appointment with our friendly treatment coordinator to discuss your anaesthesia options, today.Sleep Dentistry Back to Articles