Who should use sedation dentistry?
It is no secret that
most of us do not like going to the dentist. In fact, many people go
years without even a check-up or cleaning. Some reasons for avoiding the
Fear of needles, drills, or other dental
- Past traumatic dental experiences
- Sensitive teeth and/or difficulty getting numb
- Discomfort with the smells, noises, and tastes
that accompany dental work
Fortunately, in this day and age these issues are no
longer a reason to avoid the dentist. With sedation dentistry, patients
are able to have a comfortable, anxiety-free experience while having
their dental work performed.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry has been around for
over 100 years, and has continued to evolve over the last 40 years as
more options are made available to patients. In order to perform
sedation, dentists are required to become accredited and complete
additional training. However, its widespread acceptance and use has come
about more slowly than medical sedation.
While it is common practice to be
sedated by doctors for medical procedures, for some time there has been
the misconception that routine dental work is not uncomfortable enough
to justify the use of sedation. Fortunately, dental sedation is now used
worldwide. It has proven to be a safe and effective option for a variety
of patients and procedures.
Depending on the extent of the work
being done and the needs of the individual patient, we offer three
different methods of sedation:
Nitrous Oxide ~
Also known as inhalation sedation or “laughing gas,” this is one
step up from the oral sedative. A mask is placed over the patient's
nose, and the flow level is adjusted by the dentist until the
patient is comfortable. One advantage of this method is that as soon
as the dental work is complete, the patient receives 100% oxygen and
the feeling of sedation is gone within a few minutes.
Intravenous Conscious Sedation
(IV) ~ This type
of sedation is ideal for patients with extreme anxiety when it comes
to dental procedures, or for those who are having complex dental
work that takes a longer period of time to complete. Although the
patient is conscious, he or she remembers virtually nothing about
the dental work being performed.
What to Expect
With conscious sedation, most patients
describe feeling as though they have “slept” through the appointment.
Those who have had nitrous oxide sedation often compare it to feeling
like they are “floating” or to having had a few glasses of wine. The
oral sedatives have a similar effect, depending on the type of pill and
dosage. All three sedation methods will allow you to communicate with
your dentist during the procedure. Throughout the appointment, your
doctor will closely monitor your vital signs and overall comfort level.
If you are sedated you will need
someone to bring you to our office on the day of your appointment. Also,
you MUST make sure you have someone to take you home afterward.
How do I know if sedation is right for me?
Talking with your
dentist is the first step in deciding if sedation dentistry is for you.
Whether you are afraid of needles, have trouble getting numb, or are
simply anxious when it comes to dental work, you and your dentist can
discuss your individual case and options.
Do you live in or around Fairfax? There is no reason to
put off your dental work - all it takes is a phone call to get the
dental care you need. Call us today.
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