Many people are reluctant to seek dental care because they assume a visit to the dentist will result in pain and lots of expense.
The high cost of dentistry can be minimized by choosing a discount dental plan rather than pricier dental insurance. Such plans cover a full range of oral health services and result in charges that are significantly reduced.
To take care of the second concern - the possibility of pain - a major part of dentistry is focused on making patients as comfortable as possible. There is a range of sedation medications that control pain, relax patients and even put them to sleep while they undergo significant dental procedures, according to MouthHealthy.org, the website of the American Dental Association.
Before any anesthetic is administered, patients should consult with their dentist about any allergies they have or medications they take for health conditions.
A local anesthetic is the most common agent used to numb a portion of someone's mouth so that a dental practitioner can work on filling a cavity or administering other procedures. Typically, a dentist will apply a topical treatment at the spot where an injection is planned to reduce the discomfort as much as possible. Once the anesthetic takes effect, nerve sensations will be blocked to eliminate pain while the dental work proceeds.
Sedation drugs are different from painkillers and may be needed to relax some patients enough to continue with oral procedures. Sedatives can be administered by inhalation, taking a pill or having an injection.
Degrees of sedation are generally viewed as minimal when the patient is relaxed and awake, moderate if the person is sleepy but remains awake and deep if the patient is barely awake. General anesthesia is administered when a patient should be unconscious during a procedure.
Extra care with children
When children are involved, parents should ask the dentist what types of anesthetics are used, how long the child should go without food or beverages before and following the procedure, what kinds of reactions should be expected and the type of follow-up care that is needed at home.
If a sedative is needed for a child, parents need to know about the degree of sedation that is planned, what drugs are used, their potential side effects and whether the dental staff has received appropriate training and licensing to administer the drugs to minors.
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