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.