Some people have a difficult time going to the dentist. In some instances, that difficulty may be caused by a negative experience at a dental office, sometimes even dating back to childhood. Other times, a person could simply be afraid of the treatment they need to undergo — or perhaps even be fearful of what an exam might reveal about their oral health.
Any time a person is afraid of going to the dentist, it can be detrimental to the health of their teeth and mouth. Everyone should have a close, trusting relationship with their dental team — it’s important for the best possible care, and to empower the patient to take charge of their oral health and participate in any treatment plans they may have. Also, fearful patients may be less likely to address any issues — or even to come in for their regularly scheduled six-month checkups.
Thankfully, there are options for people who simply can’t overcome their fear of spending time in the dental chair — and for all others who might have issues getting dental care for various reasons.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is an option in more and more dental offices. It is a safe and effective way to help ease anxiety and help with a number of different issues that might keep a person from visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
There are several different types of sedation that can be used in this form of dentistry, including:
- Oral conscious sedation: In this form of sedation, your dentist will have you take medication by mouth prior to your appointment. You will remain awake for your appointment, but the medication ensures that you will not remember it.
- Nitrous oxide sedation: Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a simple way to help tone down your anxiety. The added bonus is that as soon as your dental treatment is finished and the mask is removed, you will return to normal in just a few minutes.
- IV sedation: During IV sedation, you will be completely asleep during your treatment. This is best for patients with severe anxiety and/or multiple procedures that need to be performed at the same visit.
Your dentist will work with you to determine which form of sedation will work best for you.
When is sedation dentistry used?
Sedation dentistry can be used to ease anxiety, increase patient comfort and relaxation, help patients who have issues sitting in the dental chair because of pain or mobility, and much more.
A few examples of some dental treatments that may often call for sedation and/or anesthesia of varying levels include:
- Wisdom teeth extraction
- Dental implants
- Root canals
Who is a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
Though sedation dentistry is not for everyone, you and your dentist may decide it is best for you, particularly if you have:
- Low tolerance for pain, which can cause you to put off minor restorations like fillings until they become serious enough for root canals.
- Problems sitting, such as people with neck and back injuries, or children who need extensive dental work but still have problems being still for long periods of time.
- High sensitivity, including people with sensitive gag reflexes, limiting the access a dentist needs to complete treatments.
- Volume of work, such as multiple fillings, extractions, or other treatments that could extend your time in the dental chair.
What are the pros and cons to sedation dentistry?
There are many benefits when it comes to sedation dentistry. Perhaps the most important one is a patient’s comfort. When you know that you will not be in any discomfort whatsoever and that you will not have to endure the stress of being anxious before and during your appointment, you are more likely to want to attend your appointments and see your dental treatment plan through. Sedation dentistry can also help streamline your care with your dental team, as they can focus on the task at hand rather than managing your fear.
Some cons to sedation dentistry could include the cost, particularly if your insurance does not provide coverage for the treatment. Other cons are that it might not be the right solution for certain patients based on allergies or health conditions.
Are there alternatives to sedation dentistry?
There are some possible alternatives to sedation dentistry. Some of these practices include relaxation techniques like light-dimming glasses and noise-cancelling headphones tuned to the patient’s favorite soothing music.
The most important thing you can do prior to your appointment is to talk to your dental team about your expectations and feelings going in to a treatment. That way, we can determine the best plan for you.
Does insurance cover sedation dentistry?
Every insurance carrier is different, but there may be a chance that your plan could cover a portion of the cost of sedation dentistry. The best course of action is to call in to the dentist’s office for a consultation. At this point, the dental team will reach out to your insurance to determine what coverages are present and what you might be responsible for paying.
Cornerstone Dental Arts is dedicated to the comfort of our patients. Read more about the sedation dentistry options that we offer here at our office here.
If you have questions, we’re happy to get them answered for you. Give us a call at (865) 531-7117.
Patients in the area of Knoxville, TN who are faced with dental fears are not alone. Many patients have dental anxiety and may find it difficult to attend necessary appointments because of these deep-seated feelings. However, our dentists at Cornerstone Dental Arts, including Drs. Joe Griffin, Joshua Kimrey, Ben Stroud, and Michael Williams, are here to help with sedation dentistry solutions. A popular option for our patients with moderate to severe dental anxiety is IV sedation.
What is dental anxiety?
Millions of Americans deal with dental anxiety, and it’s much more common than patients realize. There are many reasons why a patient might have dental anxiety. Perhaps they have had a negative experience in the past with a previous dental professional. Maybe they are scared of pain and discomfort. Other patients experience anxiety the minute they step into the practice or hear the dental drills. Whatever the reasons, the team at Cornerstone Dental Arts encourages patients who have dental anxieties to speak up to their dental providers. This allows us to make recommendations that can ease fears, such as administering sedation via IV.
What is IV sedation?
IV sedation, sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” is a wonderful option for patients who have upcoming dental work but have anxiety about visiting the dentist’s chair. This is an intravenous sedation that administers a sedative directly into the blood for fast and effective sedation effects. Patients will typically fall asleep during their procedure, allowing the dentist to complete the work while patients are unaware and comfortable. Other patients may be sedated to the level that they are not fully asleep but in a sedated state of consciousness. After the procedure, most patients have no recollection of what occurred. IV sedation is best for patients with severe anxieties. However, it may also be used in patients who have conditions that can make it difficult to stay still or follow instructions in the dental chair.
Is IV sedation safe?
IV sedation is administered and monitored by a dental professional who has certification and experience in IV sedation. The medication itself is completely safe to use on patients and is dosed based on the patient’s weight and the effectiveness of the medication on the individual. Our team monitors patients’ vitals throughout sedation to make sure the appropriate dose is being used and the treatment is effective and safe.
Who can be helped with IV sedation?
IV sedation can be used on patients of all ages and anxiety levels, though it is often utilized for more severely anxious patients. Other levels of sedation may be used for mild anxieties, and patients are welcome to ask about the different methods of sedation to find out which one may be best for their specific concerns. We encourage patients to speak up to our team if they experience dental anxiety either before or during their visit.
How does IV sedation help with dental fears?
When patients know that they are undergoing IV sedation before their dental procedure is performed, they are often much more at ease even when they arrive at the dental office. By using sedation in this manner, patients can address and face their fears, knowing that they will be comfortable in the dental chair and under the treatment of the staff they know and trust with their oral health and wellness.
Can I drive myself to my appointment if I am undergoing IV sedation?
Because IV sedation can take some time to reverse after the procedure is done, patients are urged to arrange transportation to and from the office. This is for their safety, as some patients feel groggy for several hours after their procedure. We recommend having someone they know and trust to transport them to and from their visit and to stay with them for part of the day following treatment.
How do I prepare myself for a dental visit with IV sedation?
There may be a few things that need to be done to prepare for a visit using IV sedation. First, patients should arrange their transportation to and from the dental office. Second, patients should not schedule any other activities for the remainder of the day and should have someone stay with them afterward. Third, patients should not eat or drink anything for at least eight hours prior to their visit. Fourth, the patient will be educated by the dental team on post-operative instructions and medications before undergoing sedation, so that this information can be shared with the individual transporting them.
Eliminate fear and anxiety from your dental visits
Ask our team of professionals about the benefits of using IV sedation to ensure a positive experience in the dental chair with Drs. Joe Griffin, Joshua Kimrey, Ben Stroud, and Michael Williams. At Cornerstone Dental Arts, we can incorporate sedation into invasive or lengthy treatments to ensure patient comfort throughout the process. Call (865) 531-7117 to schedule an appointment with our friendly front office team, or feel free to visit our facility at 8912 Town and Country Circle, Suite #1 in Knoxville, TN.