I have anxiety and was told dental sedation is the best option for me. However, my dental office also told me that I probably won’t remember much of my visit. I didn’t want to sound rude, but that scares me even more! I want to be relaxed, but I don’t want to forget. It’s not that I think they’d do anything or that anything bad would happen, and I’m afraid that’s how they’ll take it, as if I don’t trust them. I really do. It’s just that I’d feel so much better if I could remember it once it’s done. I know, it probably sounds weird since I get all worked up about treatment, but the idea of not knowing what happened or having gaps in my memory really freaks me out. Do all dental sedation medications remove memories and is there anything I can do in advance to minimize the effects?
You have total control over this situation and the options available.
Yes, Most Medications Have the Potential to Leave You with Gaps
Each office offering dental sedation will have specific medications they prescribe, so without knowing what your dentist’s preferred options are, it’s impossible to say how you’ll be impacted. That said, most do try to put you in such a calm state that you feel quite drowsy. Many patients sleep through the procedure which is why it’s been dubbed sleep dentistry. People tend to fade in and out a bit. They’re able to engage with the dental team, answer questions, and be an active participant, but it can sometimes leave you with memory gaps too.
Be Honest with Your Doctor
If your dentist is offering sedation treatment, he understands the mindset of an anxious patient. Many people who prefer sedation treatment come from backgrounds in which they’ve had bad experiences in the chair or have experienced trauma in their lives. Because he should be accustomed to helping people in these situations, he will likely understand your concerns and respond in an appropriate and compassionate way. Just tell him that you’re personally uncomfortable with the possibility of having memory gaps. He can explore medication options that don’t have that side-effect and/or prescribe a lower dose than normal.
Consider Nitrous Oxide as an Alternative
You don’t have to go all in with sedatives. Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, can increase relaxation too. However, it doesn’t create the same drowsy state other medications do, and it wears off as soon as treatment is over. It’s often enough on its own to take the edge off and keep you comfortable throughout treatment. Especially considering that other medications may heighten your anxiety because you’re worried about memory gaps, nitrous oxide may actually make you more relaxed and comfortable going into treatment since it doesn’t have the side-effects you’re concerned about.
This blog is brought to you by West Seneca Dentist Dr. Warren Krutchick.