Sedation dentistry has helped many people get through dental procedures that they might otherwise have simply avoided. Most dentists offer it, and if yours doesn't, you can find someone nearby who does. However, sedation is sedation, and that means there are additional issues you have to know about, such as an extra cost or not being able to drive yourself home from the dentist. These are minor compared to the benefits of being sedated while undergoing a procedure that you wouldn't normally have when not sedated. Yet if you live on your own and don't know if you can get a friend to drive you home, for example, you have to decide if you should still have sedation and search for a friend or neighbor who can help you, or if you should attempt to remain unsedated.
If you fear the dentist's office or a particular procedure, you really do need sedation. Fear is not the same as disliking dental procedures. You can grin and bear it if you just don't like being there. But for fear of the dentist, fear of drills, absolute hatred to the point of tears at the sound of scraping during a routine cleaning, or anything like that, ask for sedation, and then go ask your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family in the area if anyone can drive you home. If you attempt to undergo a procedure that you fear without sedation, you could end up unable to complete the procedure.
Gag Reflex Strength
Gag reflexes vary in strength. Some people can get past them by breathing through their nose; even if this remedy is limited, and the gag reflex returns after a few seconds, you and the dentist can work around that. But stronger gag reflexes that make it impossible to reach your back molars in any circumstance, for example, require sedation. Gag reflexes not only interrupt the procedure but can result in you choking and possibly vomiting. You can also end up reflexively biting the dentist or assistant's hand, and you could inhale whatever is in your mouth accidentally. When your gag reflex is at that level, you need sedation for your and the dental staff's safety.
Novocaine Isn't Enough
Some people just don't respond well to novocaine. It works a little, or the person's mouth is so sensitive that the procedure will override any effect novocaine has right in the spot the dentist is working on. In that case, the person really needs sedation. Otherwise, the pain could be too much to bear. It's less painful to ask someone to drive you home than it is to feel your tooth's nerves remind you they're present and working.
Contact a local dental office to learn more about sedation dentistry.