It is normal for some people to have apprehension about going to the dentist. Whether it’s due to a past experience or some other reason, their fear often keeps them from going to the dentist for even routine care. Sooner or later, it catches up with them and a visit to the dentist becomes a feared necessity. Fortunately, there are a number of methods we can utilize to reduce fear and anxiety.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows patients to receive medication that enables them to relax while they undergo dental treatment. This is especially true for patients that suffer from dental phobia. In order to combat this phobia, sedation options are provided to patients to help reduce overall nervousness and anxiety that sometimes accompany a visit to the dentist. As a result of sedation, patients may feel as though an extensive treatment only lasted a few minutes.
At Implant Dentistry of Florida, we offer a number of sedation options. These include:
- Local Anesthesia
- Nitrous Oxide
- Minimal Sedation
- Moderation Sedation
Local anesthesia allows agents to block conduction along the nerve pathways so that patients do not feel the pain. The first used synthetic local anesthetic was Novocaine and was the top anesthetic until lidocaine was developed. Many patients were having allergic reactions to novocaine which resulted in lidocaine becoming and remaining, the most commonly used dental anesthetic. A few years ago, Septocaine was developed. This anesthesia allows patients to receive the same pain-free visit with half the dosage of novocaine and lidocaine.
Nitrous Oxide has been in use during dental procedures since the 1800s. It is also known as “laughing gas”, “happy gas”, or “sweet air” since it produces a slight euphoria and has a calming effect. The advantage of choosing nitrous oxide is that it is completely eliminated from your body about 5-10 minutes after administration has been stopped. After we stop administering the nitrous oxide, patients will breathe in 100% oxygen for 5-10 minutes and are then ready to drive home.
For patients who experience slightly more anxiety at the dental office, we can administer oral sedatives. Among the most common anti-anxiety agents we provide are Valium, Lorazepam, or Halcion. Patients will take these tablets by mouth about one hour before the procedure to produce a very calm state for their procedure. In addition, many of these medications have very good amnesia properties, meaning you may not remember much of your visit. Due to the tranquilizer effect of these medications, you cannot drive while taking them and must have someone take you to and from the office.
For patients who experience a high degree of anxiety moderate sedation, also known as conscious sedation, is the highest level of sedation we offer. Our staff will administer the sedation medications through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand and supply you with supplemental oxygen. We also continuously monitor your blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm. With moderate sedation, you are awake and able to respond to commands but are in a state of extreme relaxation. Most patients have no memory of the procedure afterward and must have someone bring you to and from the office.
Sedation Dentistry Benefits
In addition to being very helpful to patients who experience dental phobia, sedation dentistry may benefit those who:
- Experience gum or tooth sensitivity
- Gag easily
- Have a low threshold for pain
- Have a hard time sitting still
- Require a large amount of dental work
Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry
Mild side effects may occur post-procedure and patients sometimes require assistance on getting home. After their procedure, patients may experience dizziness, drowsiness or nausea. These side effects should subside shortly but It is important to discuss your concerns with our staff during your consultation.
Why Choose Implant Dentistry of Florida?
Dr. Clark Brown was trained in intravenous conscious sedation at Georgetown University Hospital and in the United States Air Force. He has been practicing moderate sedation since 1978 and has a license in moderate sedation from the State of Florida’s Board of Dentistry. In addition to maintaining CPR/AED and ACLS certifications, Dr. Brown regularly takes continuing education classes in sedation and emergency medical management. He is a member of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and the Florida Dental Society of Anesthesiology.
Dr. William Vaughn was trained in intravenous moderate sedation at the University of Kentucky. He has a license from the State of Florida Board of Dentistry to administer moderate sedation. Dr. Vaughn maintains CPR/AED and ACLS certifications and regularly takes continuing education in sedation and emergency medical management. He is a member of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and the Florida Dental Society of Anesthesiology.