Sedation Dentistry is a safe and simple way to significantly reduce or eliminate fear and anxiety associated with dental treatment. Dr Rachana Vora, sedation dentist, utilizes sedation treatments to manage patient anxiety before and during treatment. Your comfort and care are always our priority.
Sedation dentistry (or known as painless dentistry) is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment. 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.
According to to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. This all-too-common "dental phobia" prevents people from receiving necessary routine dental care, potentially compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile.
- Sedation will provide you a way of getting your dental treatment done while totally relaxed and completely comfortable - in other words, it will feel like painless dentistry.
- Sedation is achieved with the use of various oral sedatives (triazolam, lorazepam, and/or hydroxyzine) nitrous oxide or what is commonly called laughing gas, or intravenous sedation.
- You will not be “knocked out”.
- Sedation allows you to be conscious and responsive.
- You will be very sleepy and relaxed.
- You will be able to verbalize your needs and wants.
- You will be monitored during your entire procedure with blood pressure and pulse oximetry.
- A sedation dentist will be with you at all times.
- The sedatives used are amnesic – you will have little to no memory of the experience.
- You will continue to relax the rest of the day and into the evening and a responsible companion should be with you the following day.
Sleep Dentistry or Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry has occasionally been dubbed sleep dentistry, but this term is misleading. In actual fact, you do not sleep during the procedure, but because of the effects produced by the sedative, you may feel sleepy.
Sedation dentistry enables you to be kept awake throughout the entire procedure, but you will feel relaxed and likely won't remember much about your treatment. The use of general anesthesia is not considered sedation dentistry.
Oral sedative medications can significantly reduce your fears and discomfort. Unlike general anesthesia, which renders the patient completely unconscious, oral conscious sedation allows you to speak and breathe on your own. Although you will not actually be asleep, you will experience a heightened state of relaxation.
Nitrous Oxide, sometimes referred to as laughing gas, is best suited for cases of mild anxiety and is the most frequently used sedation method. Nitrous oxide has been in use in Dentistry since 1844! During nitrous oxide sedation, you remain conscious and able to breathe on your own.
Nitrous oxide is a gas that's administered through the nose and exhaled through the mouth, eliminating it from the body almost immediately. Before receiving dental treatment, a mask is placed over the nose of the patient. This allows the sedation dentist to work on the mouth uninterrupted. After a few minutes, the effects of the nitrous oxide start to take place. Although you won't get the giggles, you will experience a light, airy feeling. Don't get too comfortable, though -- it ends once the mask is removed.
Sedation dentist and dental hygienist must complete the appropriate coursework to administer nitrous oxide, and many states require a permit to obtain it. Fortunately, we have fully permitted to offer sedation at our office. If you're avoiding the dentist out of fear, nitrous oxide can help you get the professional dental care you need.
- Effective for mild anxiety
- Proven safety record
- Has an analgesic (pain relieving) effect
- Fast acting with few side effects
- You don’t need someone to escort you to and from the office
- Patients recover from the effect very quickly
- You can return to normal activities immediately
Two appointments are generally required for a procedure utilizing sedation dentistry. At your first visit, your sedation dentist will take a detailed health history, do an oral exam, X-rays, a pre-sedation assessment. You will then be given a prescription for a sedative medication in the form of a pill that you will be required to take the night before the appointment and possibly one for the next morning before arriving at the office.
On your second visit, you will be required to have a companion bring you to and from the office. Once you arrive, you will take additional medications (if required) to ensure that you are completely relaxed and comfortable. Be assured, your comfort level will be monitored throughout your entire visit. We recommend taking the day off on the day of treatment.
Call our office for a consultation with a sedation dentist to understand how sedation and sleep dentistry works and whether it fits your needs. Our dental office serves communities like Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford, Somerville, Watertown, and Winchester.
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide. The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
Dental Anxiety Is Not Uncommon
In fact, some studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental related fear and 20% avoid dental care because of it. If you have a fear of dental work, we want you to know that making you feel comfortable and safe at our office is our first priority.
Advantages to patients include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur at during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
Before and After Sedation
Instructions Before Your Sedation Appointment
- You will not be put to sleep.
- No food or water (except water with meds) for six hours prior to appointment. However, if you are a diabetic, you may have a light, low fat, breakfast on the day of your appointment.
- No sedatives for 24 hours before or after your sedation visit other than the ones prescribed by your dentist. For example: No alcohol or sleep medications.
- No stimulants for 12 hours before or after. No coffee, sugar, caffeine, or nicotine.
- For females: Let your dentist know if there is the slightest possibility you may be pregnant. If so, it is best to delay the sedation visit until status is known in order to not cause any harm to the fetus. If you require a sedation visit while you are breast-feeding, then the day before your appointment, it is best to pump and store. Then the day of your appointment, pump and discard, and use the stored milk from the previous day.
Is Sedation safe?
Also known as “sleep dentistry”. Dentist define dental sedation as process which involves using medication that helps patients calm down during dental procedures. Unlike patients who undergo general anesthesia, patients remain awake under dental sedation. Oral sedation is usually safe, provided it is kept within the recommended dose. It should be in accordance with the patient’s weight and age.
The most common form of dental sedation remains local anesthesia where the part that needs to be operated is sedated during the procedure, but the sedation does not put the patient under. The other form is general anesthesia, which involves a drug that causes temporary unconsciousness. General anesthesia may be best for certain procedures, for instance wisdom teeth extraction.