Sedation Dentistry: A lifeline for patients with dental fears
Posted on 7/13/2017 by Michael Mettler
|Sedation dentistry (also called sleep dentistry) is the perfect solution for people who may have had a painful experience with a dentist, people who need a lot of work done, or for small children with important dental needs that can’t sit still, no matter how skilled, gentle, or friendly the dentist is. We’re proud at Stone Creek Dental Care to offer sedation as an option for patients who need it, because every patient is unique.
Avoiding the dentist can be detrimental to your health in many ways. At Stone Creek Dental Care in Walla Walla, we care not only about your smile but your overall health: body and mind. We do not wish for you to suffer in our chair, whether you have a deep-seated phobia of the dentist, or a dreaded root canal is looming ahead of you. Many patients who have had a painful experience with a dental procedure in the past, and were afraid of repeating it, found that they only needed to be sedated once—they were able to handle their next appointment without any sedation at all.
How sedation dentistry works, and how it can help:
At Stone Creek, it begins with a simple conversation with Dr. Patty Martin. We will discuss your needs, and select a type and dosage of sedative that will achieve them. There are a range of methods of sedation, but most importantly, you should know that being sedated doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be unconscious. We can administer just a small amount of sedative so you feel more relaxed, enough that you stay conscious but retain no memory of the experience, or a larger dose to render you fully and peacefully unconscious. The choice is yours, and depends entirely on your particular circumstances.
We have three methods of sedation available to us, each with a different set of characteristics that can be helpful to different patients:
Inhaled sedative -
Inhaled gas sedative is administered with a special nose mask so that the dentist can work in your mouth. It works quickly, so the dosage can be changed quickly if the patient wants to feel its effects more or less strongly. Another important benefit of this method is that it wears off quickly, within a few minutes. Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas, is so quick and fast reacting that it will take effect 20 seconds after administration, and will fully exit the body three to five minutes after the final dose. So, a patient can drive him or herself home or even back to work!
Oral sedative -
The effects of the oral sedation depend on the dosage, which we adjust to correspond with the length of the appointment, and may require the patient to take a Valium the morning of or night before the procedure. Dr. Martin said patients describe the feeling of this type of sedative as similar to feeling like “lying on the beach on a beautiful day,” like you just aren’t worried about anything. Patients tend to not even remember the procedure, even though they were conscious and speaking to the dentist. Patients must plan to have someone else drive them to and from the clinic, and should be prepared to feel groggy for several hours after the procedure. Sounds like a good excuse to binge watch something on Netflix, right?!
IV sedative -
Intravenous, or IV, sedation requires an anesthesiologist to come to our dental clinic to monitor the patient. It’s a less common method of sedation for dentistry, but it can be the perfect solution for a patient that needs extensive work, or for a child that can’t sit still, but has urgent dental needs. IV sedation wears off quickly, but the patient might feel “unsteady” immediately after. They should not drive, drink alcohol, or take medication (unless approved by the dentist) for 24 hours after the procedure.
The treatment you need, the way you need it:
No matter your reason, sedation dentistry can be a way to get dental work done that would be impossible otherwise. It makes us happy to be able to help a patient get the treatment he or she needs with this special technique. Give us a call at (509) 525-5902 to make an appointment.