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Smile Texas's Cosmetic Dentistry Journal

 

Overcoming Anxiety with Sedation Dentistry

While we’re pretty laid back here in Sugar Land, no matter how laid back you are, for some people a trip to the dentist initiates a feeling of high anxiety. This response doesn’t have to be related to an involved procedure, either; it can be just a routine cleaning.

While it’s true dentists the world over could have used a better publicist (remember Steve Martin’s “Medieval Dentist” SNL portrayal or the movie Marathon Man?), modern dentistry is really pretty much free of serious pain. Still, anxiety exists for many people, making them skip appointments and that can affect their dental health. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry at Smile Texas, so you can sit back and relaaaaaaaaaaaax.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medications to keep patients relaxed during dental procedures. This is not to be confused with full general anesthesia. In sedation dentistry the patient is usually awake and is able to respond to requests from the dentist. The sedation simply allows the patient to relax and overcome his or her anxiety.

What are the levels of sedation?

There are four levels of sedation. At Smile Texas we use the minimal amount of sedation that you need.

•Minimal sedation — Under minimal sedation, you are awake but relaxed.
•Moderate sedation — This used to be called “conscious sedation.” You may slur your words when talking and not remember most of what occurred during the procedure.
•Deep sedation — In deep sedation, you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
•General anesthesia — You’re completely unconscious.

We also provide various “comfort” items such as blankets, pillows, and an iPod with your favorite music, all to help you stay relaxed while visiting Smile Texas.

What types of sedation are used?

•Oral sedation can be minimal to moderate. Obviously, it’s the easiest to administer. The patient takes a pill (usually Halcion, in the same drug family as Valium) usually about 30 minutes before the procedure. The pill makes the patient drowsy. Oral sedation is the most common form of sedation used in dentistry.

•Everyone knows about laughing gas, formally known as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen and the patient breathes it through a mask placed over the nose. One cool thing about nitrous oxide at Smile Texas is that the gas wears off quickly and the patient usually can drive home following the procedure.

•Intravenous sedation works more quickly as the sedative drug is delivered into the bloodstream. The method allows our dentists to adjust sedation levels continually. At Smile Texas we usually opt for intravenous sedation for implant surgeries, extractions, and for high-fear patients.

•Deep sedation and general anesthesia are delivered intravenously, as well. A patient under general anesthesia cannot be awakened easily until the anesthesia wears off or is reversed using a different medication.

At Smile Texas, your comfort is our priority. If you find yourself getting nervous either when in our offices or prior to coming, clue us in. The only we know if you’re suffering from anxiety is to tell us. Then we can work out a sedation plan that relieves your anxiety.

Schedule an appointment

Call the team at Smile Texas, (281) 265-7645, and ask about how we can keep you comfortable with sedation dentistry.