Boger Dental Ask The Experts 2016
Ask the Experts: Boger Dental
Topic: Sedation Dentistry
Q: Which patients can benefit from sedation dentistry?
A: It isn’t uncommon for patients of all ages to experience anxiety when going to see their dentist. At Boger Dental, we see many patients that will share with us that they have some level of anxiety, and for these patients we take extra time with to find out where their fear comes from, how we can help address those fears and whether as a team we can overcome those fears and move toward treating the dental concerns. Many types of patients can benefit from sedation dentistry. Sedation can be especially beneficial for patients with fears due to traumatic dental experiences as a child, difficulties getting numb, sensitive gag reflexes, a fear of needles, or patients who dislike the sounds and smells associated with a dental office. Some people also have sensitive teeth that make cleanings uncomfortable or require lengthy dental appointments. We do our best to work with patients to match sedation options to their individual needs.
Q: What are the different sedation options for dentistry?
A: At Boger Dental, we offer a variety of sedation options:
1. Inhalation conscious sedation: Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas”, is a sedative gas and oxygen mix that helps patients relax. Nitrous oxide is great at reducing anxiety, enhances feelings of euphoria for patients who might otherwise be overly nervous about their appointment, and is very safe when administered correctly.
2. Oral sedation: pills that you either swallow or can be dissolved under the tongue. There are a variety of sedative and anxiolytic medications that can help calm those that have mild to moderate dental anxiety.
3. IV conscious sedation: Patients receive medication that acts as a sedative and blocks pain directly through an IV into their bloodstream, which helps the medication act quickly. This also allows us to adjust the medication as needed. At Boger Dental, this type of sedation is administered by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), who can adjust the medication during the procedure as needed. When we utilize IV conscious sedation, patients are in a sense “asleep” in terms of their perception to the procedure or their level of anxiety about their visit. The benefit, however, is that they can still respond to commands from their dentist, and they will benefit from an amnesia effect so they will not remember anything about the appointment. Patients should remember that after both oral and IV conscious sedation, patients will need a companion to drive them home from their appointment.
Sedation can be especially beneficial for patients with fears due to traumatic dental experiences as a child, difficulties getting numb, sensitive gag reflexes, a fear of needles, or patients who dislike the sounds and smells associated with a dental office.
Q: Is sedation dentistry safe?
A: All of the medications used have been subjected to rigorous research and testing and have a long safety record after decades of use. There is always a risk in getting IV sedation and that is why we work with respected CRNA’s that are focused only on you. Before starting any treatment, we review your medical history, and we monitor you closely while you are under sedation.
Q: Will there be any pain even if I use sedation dentistry?
A: Dentists rely on local anesthetic (Novocain) to eliminate pain during any dental procedure where the patient could experience discomfort. Often, local anesthetic will be deployed in tandem with medication used to reduce anxiety associated with the patient’s procedure so the patients experience no pain or fear. Most patients feel no discomfort whatsoever during their treatment under IV sedation and recall nothing the next day. Patients should remember, however, that some procedures can result in discomfort in the days following their appointment, so they should talk to their dentist about the best ways to overcome that discomfort.
Q: Will patients ever overcome dental fear?
A: We have had patients on occasion overcome their fears, but sometimes sedation dentistry or medication will consistently be prefered. The most important part of our job is to make sure patients are receiving the care they need. Helping patients manage their fears makes it easier for them to be treated and it is easier for us to work on them if they are not anxious and scared.