Children and adults can experience anxiety when the time comes to visit the dentist. In fact, one in twenty people feel such strong anxiety toward a dental visit that their fear is categorized as a phobia. Even an average level of nervousness toward the dentist chair can cause some people to avoid the dentist completely, which can have painful and costly long-term consequences for their dental health. If you are one of many who wishes to have a relaxed, pain-free and comfortable dental experience, sedation is available.
As practiced by the highly-trained professionals at Old Town Smiles, sedation is safe and effectively provides relaxation and comfort during dental procedures. To learn more about our available types of sedation for dental treatments, contact any one of our friendly staff today.
- 1 Sedation Dentistry at Old Town Smiles
- 2 Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
- 3 Your Sedation Options
- 4 Is it Safe?
- 5 Levels of Sedation
- 6 Candidates
- 7 Sedation for All Ages
- 8 Consultation
- 9 Tips for Preparation
- 10 Your Sedation Experience
- 11 How Will I Feel After My Appointment?
Sedation Dentistry at Old Town Smiles
Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Kitchen understand the apprehension many people feel toward dental work. In order to help anxious patients undergo their dental work, Old Town Smiles offers a range of comfortable, safe sedation options. Sedation Dentistry has helped so many of our patients receive their desired dental treatment under anxiety- and pain-free conditions.
Whether a patient has a fear of dental injections or a general discomfort with the idea of someone accessing the inside their mouth, sedation dentistry can enable them to receive their dental work under the least amount of stress possible. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding the common apprehension known as dental phobia.
Some patients need to be calmed before they get to the office, so we can prescribe an oral medication to be taken prior to their appointment to help them relax.
For those patients who prefer to be sedated during their dental procedures, Nitrous Oxide gas (laughing gas) is the most commonly used sedation technique. It helps relax patients by inhaling a gas administered through the nose. Patients report that it helps make them feel both comfortable and less nervous.
Old Town Smiles offers other types of sedation :
- Oral conscious sedation
- IV sedation
- General anesthesia
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Many of our patients tell us they selected Sedation Dentistry because of the following benefits:
- Totally reduces their extreme dental anxiety
- Eliminates their gagging problem
- Eliminates their fear of dental injections
- Their difficulty getting numb is no longer a problem
- Allows them to fix embarrassing dental problems in a single visit
- Having everything completed in a single visit, saves time and money
We will help you decide which type of sedation is right for you!
Your Sedation Options
Patients will have the opportunity to choose a sedation method> that is right for them. Old Town Smiles offers patients the following:
Oral Conscious Sedation
Patients have the option of ingesting a pill an hour before their procedure. This oral sedative will calm patients to the point where they can receive their dental work, but will still be conscious enough to cooperate with their dentist when necessary. This moderate, sleepy level of sedation is what is known as oral conscious sedation.
Examples of oral sedatives, or benzodiazepine, include Valium, Halcion, and Atarax.
Oral sedatives work by quieting activity in the parts of the patient’s brain responsible for fear and anxiety. While they sufficiently relax the patient, oral sedatives usually work in such a way that the patient is not drowsy after their procedure, but instead feels alert. If enough oral sedative is prescribed, the medication can cause amnesia, resulting in the patient not recalling their procedure. Some patients with extreme anxiety toward their dental experience may desire this effect.
An oral sedative is a convenient, pain-free way to soothe your nerves before you receive dental work. If you opt for an oral sedative, you will need to ask for a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment.
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a popular choice among patients seeking to safely sedate themselves for their dental treatment.
Nitrous gas is mixed with oxygen and administered via a nasal cannula, which the patient will wear for the duration of their dental work. The nitrous oxide makes patients feel calm and content. Even though the patient will be in an overall relaxed state, they will still be able to interact with their dentist as-needed. Your dentist will also be able to adjust the gas in order to control the level of sedation achieved.
The effects of the nitrous oxide will fade shortly after the nasal cannula is removed. There is no residual effect. Nitrous is a safe, comfortable way to relax yourself before and during your dental work.
IV sedation keeps a patient relaxed and oblivious to the dental work they are receiving, while also keeping the patient awake and functional enough to interact with their dentist when required. IV sedation also acts quickly, and allows your dentist to adjust the sedation level as needed. This type of sedative will be administered intravenously.
IV Sedation also has an amnesic effect of their dental procedure, a welcome outcome for patients with extreme anxiety toward their dental experience.
General anesthesia is used as a sedation option for dental patients and it can be the right choice in specific cases, such as for the removal of impacted wisdom teeth or other more involved dental procedures. General anesthesia will put a patient into a state of unconsciousness, and they will not be aware of the dental work they are receiving. This can also be a useful option for patients who have a high tolerance to sedatives or pain medications.
Patients with special needs also are good candidates to receive their dental care under general anesthesia.
Is it Safe?
Sedation dentistry at Old Town Smiles is practiced to the highest professional standards of the American Dental Association. Our available methods of sedation are FDA-approved and delivered with careful expertise. Dr. Kitchen, with over 25 years in dental practice, was named one of Washington D.C.’s best dentists. Dr. Ahmed has extensive hospital training in surgical and restorative procedures; both doctors are highly experienced with administering safe and successful sedation. Dr. Roberts is a board certified anesthesiologist for IV and general anesthesia performed at Old Town Smiles.
The vast majority of patients will not experience any negative side effects after being sedated. It is very important to disclose your medical history to your dentist before you are sedated, so they can create the best type of sedation for each unique patient.
Levels of Sedation
Patients will consult with their dentist before they choose the level of sedation that they feel may be right for them during their dental treatment. Sedation options include:
Minimal sedation would leave the patient awake, but relaxed overall. Examples of this is the use of Nitrous Oxide and or Valium.
Moderate sedation allows patients to speak and function when needed, but their body will be overall relaxed, their speech may be slurred, and it may not be possible to recall most of the procedure afterwards. Also known as “oral conscious sedation.” This is the most commonly achieved level of sedation for anxious patients.
Patients who are deeply sedated may seem like they are unconscious, but can be “woken up” when necessary.
Patients who receive general anesthesia will be in a state of unconsciousness or a deep sleep, unaware of any dental work. IV sedation and nitrous oxide can both be adjusted during a patient’s procedure in order to guarantee the ideal level of sedation is achieved.
Good candidates for sedation dentistry are those who experience such strong anxiety toward dental work that it causes panic, or the desire to avoid the dentist entirely. Sedation is also a good option for people who find that dental work aggravates their gag reflex. Patients who are afraid of dental injections, or are concerned that they do not numb adequately from these injections, should consider sedation as well.
Before your candidacy for sedation can be confirmed, it is important to notify your dentist of any pre-existing conditions you may have, such as cardiac disease, diabetes, and certain respiratory diseases. Patients who are currently experiencing obesity or sleep apnea may not be good candidates for all forms of sedation. Your dentist will assess your medical history, as well as perform a physical exam, to guarantee that your sedation will not risk health complications.
Each form of sedation has specific requirements and side effects for its candidates, which your dentist will go over with you during your consultation.
Sedation for All Ages
Children who are feeling strong anxiety toward their dental care have the option of being sedated with nitrous oxide. This is the preferred and safe method of sedation for children. Discuss this option with your dentist before your child’s appointment.
The team at Old Town Smiles is determined to create the best dental care experience possible for their patients. There is no need to let your fear of your dental procedure keep you from receiving the care you need: Dr. Kitchen and Dr. Ahmed are happy and ready to work with each patient to determine what type of sedation will best and most safely relieve the anxiety they feel. During a consultation, they will assess your medical history and current medication used to guarantee that your sedation will not exacerbate any health conditions that you may have. After a physical exam, your sedation dosage will be determined based on your unique needs. It is also important to share any concerns or apprehension you may feel at this time, so that the dentist can design a plan of care that you feel especially comfortable with.
Tips for Preparation
Before being sedated, patients can prepare in the following ways:
- A light meal is recommended before patients receive nitrous oxide.
- Avoid eating or drinking at least eight hours before undergoing IV sedation, oral conscious sedation.
- Schedule a ride to and from your dental appointment.
- Follow any specific instructions you have received regarding your current medication use.
Your Sedation Experience
If you decide to be sedated during your dental work, whether orally, intravenously, or with nitrous gas, you will feel calm, relaxed, and relatively “sleepy” during your procedure. You will be generally unaware of the dental work you are undergoing. Any anxiety that you felt beforehand will be gone, and while you may be in a relaxed cloud, you will also still be cognizant enough to interact with your dentist as-needed. Most patients will still receive local anesthetic, in addition to their sedative, but only after their sedative is in effect.
If your dentist determines you are not adequately sedated, they may carefully increase the dose of your nitrous oxide or IV sedative.
Patients who choose oral sedation will figure out their dosage with their dentist ahead of time, as this form of sedation usually takes an hour to take effect. Many patients who are sedated do not remember the time they spent in the dentist’s chair.
Patients who are candidates for general anesthesia with be put under at the beginning of their dental procedure, and will be monitored when they come back to consciousness.
How Will I Feel After My Appointment?
Some patients recover quickly from their sedative, while others feel groggy for a period of time after being sedated.
Patients who receive oral sedation can have the quickest recovery, but this again depends on the patient’s body. Due to the sleepy side effect sedatives can have, it is important to ask a friend or family member to drive you home after your sedation.
While most patients experience grogginess after being sedated, some may be lethargic when coming out of sedation. It is recommended that patients take the rest of the day off and relax.
To learn more about your options with Sedation Dentistry, call the helpful staff at Old Town Smiles today to schedule your free consultation!