Sedation Therapy – Can it Help Anxious Patients Get the Dental Care They Need?
Many people become anxious at the very thought of having to visit the dentist. Whether they underwent a traumatic dental visit as a child, are experiencing pain and fear more of it, have endured unexpected sensitivity during a previous procedure, or are simply uncomfortable at the thought of being in close proximity to others or having another person’s hands in their mouth, avoidance of receiving proper dental care may prevent a patient to receive the routine and restorative dental care necessary for keeping their teeth and gums healthy. “Sedation dentistry” encompasses three main levels of medical sedation, each uniquely designed to help patients relax during dental procedures. These methods are adjustable, based on your level of anxiety and the severity of your dental issue, and they can enable you to have a safe, calm, and peaceful dental experience.
Sedation dentistry is available and appropriate for patients who have anxiety that prevents them from visiting the dentist, and it may be ideal for you if you:
- have very sensitive teeth
- have difficulty sitting still for an extended period of time
- have a low threshold for pain
- have a delicate gag reflex
- require extensive dental work to be completed
The most conservative sedation option is Nitrous Oxide gas. Also known as “Laughing Gas”, Nitrous Oxide is a safe, mild sedative, breathed in effortlessly through a mask placed over your nose. This highly effective means of relaxing sedation invokes a feeling of calm relaxation while the patient remains awake and aware. Nitrous Oxide can easily be controlled by your dentist throughout your treatment and it wears off soon after it is discontinued. Nitrous Oxide gas is an excellent option for patients who experience mild uneasiness during teeth cleanings and other dental procedures, and it effectively controls both pain and anxiety. Nitrous Oxide has no lingering after-effects upon the patient; a general feeling of euphoria and lightness accompany its use which subsides comfortably the following use. Patients who employ this method of inhaled mild sedation are typically able to drive shortly following their procedure and is generally considered safe for children.
Oral sedation, in the form of a pill, can be taken approximately an hour prior to a dental procedure and provides a more moderate range of sedation. With oral sedation, patients are awake and conscious of their surroundings, although they experience a deeper level of relaxation. Treatment following the administration of oral sedation begins once the medication has taken effect when the patient indicates they are ready to begin the procedure. Patients may fall asleep during their treatment. We recommend that patients receiving oral sedation have a designated driver following their procedure and that they do not drive themselves home after their appointment. Patients may experience lingering lethargy and slurring of their words as they recuperate. Oral sedation wears off slowly, over a period of several hours.
Intravenous (IV) sedation delivers are deeper level of sedation which can be moderated by the dentist throughout your treatment. IV sedation is delivered directly into your bloodstream through a vein. While the patient remains conscious throughout, he or she may have very little recollection of the experience afterward. IV sedation allows the patient to experience a “twilight” effect, similar to dozing, and they can still be awakened easily. While more aggressive than inhaled or oral sedation, IV sedation is ideal for those who experience moderate to severe dental anxiety, and wish to avoid acute awareness of their experience as much as possible. Patients who have experienced IV sedation must be driven home from their procedure.
For those who anticipate extensive dental work or who are especially prone to acute anxiety, general anesthesia may be advised. General anesthesia will allow the patient to slip into a deep, semi-conscious, or completely unconscious state during their procedure, thus allowing for the time necessary to perform the necessary treatment. Under general anesthesia, the patient is not easily awakened and the effects take some time to wear off completely. For patients interested in general anesthesia, we recommend consulting your physician prior to your dental visit to address any health issues that might be of concern.
Sedation therapy affords our patients the comfort of little to no pain or discomfort, relaxation during treatment, and an overall ability to relax during their dental visit.
Prior to the use of sedation therapy for your dental procedure, we will review your general medical history. We will assess any medications you are currently taking and discuss which sedation method is recommended for you. Your safety and comfort are our #1 concern.
At Odin House Dental, we are proud to serve our community with professional care and courtesy. With an extensive staff of dentists, oral health specialists, and our supporting staff, we are uniquely qualified to put your mind and body at ease while ensuring your best oral health. Give us a call today.
About Odin House Dental
Creating an Excellent Patient Experience…
Over the last two decades, Odin House Dental Surgery has been proud to serve the suburb of Innaloo and has grown to include 10 dentists, three oral health therapists, and 10 support staff. We have eight surgery rooms, a sterilisation room, a laboratory (where we make your mouthguards, whitening trays, and models) as well as two waiting rooms which include a small play area for children. We also have a unique “special room” complete with a massage chair, large screen TV, and even X Box!
Our dentists are all members of the Australian Dental Association and are local to Perth, so it would be no surprise if you have seen us out and about in the community.