Everyone is afraid of something in life. Whether it’s small spaces, spiders or public speaking, each fear is valid and needs to be acknowledged by those who come in contact with you. Dental professionals are particularly sensitive to this and may offer sedation dentistry to help nervous patients feel more comfortable.
According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and other sources, up to 75% of people have some degree of dental fear, ranging from mild to severe. This fear can cause people to avoid visiting the dentist until they have a dental emergency. This often leads to the patient requiring more complex treatment and more visits than if the problems were caught sooner with routine check ups.
At Northern Dental Care, we provide several sedation options for adults and children.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation (“Laughing Gas”)
For mild dental anxiety, nitrous oxide sedation can be used. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide allows a patient to feel more relaxed and remain comfortable throughout their dental treatment. The mild sedation effect is reversed once the gas is turned off, and patients will be able to drive home after their appointment. We provide nitrous oxide sedation to adult patients only.
Oral Conscious Sedation
For more phobic patients, oral conscious sedation may be recommended. Conscious sedation typically takes place in the dental office, although not all clinics offer it as the dentist must undergo training and the office must get a permit. With conscious sedation, a medication is taken while under continuous supervision and monitoring, including blood pressure, pulse and blood oxygenation. The patient will be awake and able to respond but becomes oblivious to what is going on. As a result of the properties of the medication used, most patients report little to no memory of the visit.
Patients getting Oral Sedation will need a ride to and from the appointment, and there are special precautions to follow before the visit.
Some people may choose to have deeper sedation with medication administered through IV. This is typically reserved for patients who are very anxious and need a difficult procedure or surgery. At Northern Dental, we only offer IV sedation for adults who require extractions. IV sedation requires licensing by the dentist and dental staff, and the patient’s vital signs are monitored throughout the procedure.
Patients getting IV Sedation will need a ride to and from the appointment, and there are special precautions to follow before the visit.
General Anesthesia uses a combination of inhaled gas and intravenous medication to put the patient in a state of controlled unconsciousness. At Northern Dental Care, we provide General Anesthesia or “sleep dentistry” for children. General Anesthesia is used for complex treatments and children needing a lot of dentistry done in one visit. The patient will be sedated with inhaled gas before IV placement, so it works well for children with a phobia of needles. General Anesthesia requires specialized equipment and is administered by an anesthesia specialist who, along with the anesthesia team of Registered Nurses, will ensure a safe visit.
Patients getting General Anesthesia will need a ride to and from the appointment and there are special precautions to follow before the visit.
If dental anxiety is keeping you or your child from visiting the dentist, contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your fear and get you the care you deserve.