3 Things You Need To Know About Sedation Dentistry
For some people, a trip to the dentist is the stuff of nightmares. NBC News told the story of Barbara Scott, a 50-year-old woman who had responded poorly to Novocain as a child and had to endure drilling and filling without any anesthetic at all. “I can remember sitting there with tears running down my face,” she recalled, saying that she often put off needing work done, which only made problems worse. When she heard about sedation dentistry, she said she felt it “was totally an answer to a prayer.”
Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot’s sedation dentistry on Long Island aims to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible during your dental procedure. Here are five points to consider before your next appointment.
1. There are different types of sedation available
We can do four different methods of sedation:
- Oral Sedation: Medication like diazepam can be given to a patient to decreases anxiety, while maintaining full consciousness. This method is combined with a local injection of anesthetic to diminish pain.
- Nitrous Oxide Sedation: Nitrous oxide gas is breathed to induce a state of relaxation. Patients are able to respond to questions and remain conscious during the procedure. This method is combined with an injection.
- IV Sedation: The patient is awake and able to follow commands, but remains in a state of deep relaxation. It is administered in conjunction with anesthetic injection for pain relief.
- General Anesthesia: The patient is rendered unconscious and unaware of his or her surroundings. Local anesthetic is not necessary. Patients cannot respond to commands and may require assistance with breathing.
The general rule of thumb is to use as little anesthesia as possible to reach the desired state of relaxation.
2. Most people can receive sedation for any type of procedure
The Chicago Tribune details how dental patient Valerie Carlson used sedation for regular teeth cleaning. “There is no other option for me,” she said. “I can’t even hear the instruments. It just makes my skin crawl.” Here at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry, we have some extremely anxious patients who prefer to be sedated for routine procedures.
Sedation dentistry is appropriate for patients with:
- A low pain threshold
- The inability to remain still in the dentist’s chair
- A bad gag reflex
- The need for extensive dental work
- Extreme phobia of the sights, sounds and smells of the dentist’s office
While sedation dentistry is considered safe, patients with the following conditions should speak with a general practitioner for clearance before their procedures:
- Patients who are under 18 years old
- Patients who are obese
- Patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea
- Patients with a history of uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes
- Patients who have recently had a stroke
3. Look for a qualified dentist
The Commission on Dental Accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the national accrediting body for advanced dental education in the United States. In New York State, dentists must have at least two years of accredited post-doctoral education in anesthesia or have completed a graduate level program in oral and maxillofacial surgery to administer general anesthesia. For IV sedation, dentists must clock at least 60 hours of coursework and clinical experience on at least 20 patients with an accrediting body before certification. They must be trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and emergency management as well.
A good sedation dentist will:
- Discuss pros, cons and risks of sedation dentistry during a consultation.
- Go over your complete medical history, including any medications you’re taking, to determine your candidacy.
- Answer any questions you have about the different methods of sedation.
- Possess all necessary equipment to monitor vital signs and enough staff to have someone with you at all times.
- Have an office equipped with artificial ventilation and reversal drugs in the rare case of emergency.
For more information about sedation dentistry with Suffolk County cosmetic dentists Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick, please call us to arrange a free consultation by dialing 631-296-0602.