Sedation Dentistry in Stamford CT
Providing Stamford with Quality Care
Sedation Dentistry in Stamford CT
Fear Shouldn’t Keep You from a Great Smile
Does the thought of going to the dentist give you anxiety? A large percentage of adults are apprehensive when it comes to going to the dentist. Quite frankly, some are so fearful that they can’t imagine getting any work done, or even getting looked at. Much of this worry stems from the fear of feeling pain or discomfort during a procedure.
Sedation dentistry serves as a great solution to those with dental anxiety, allowing them to feel at ease during their appointment.
Sleep Dentistry What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Dental sedation involves various methods of administering sedatives during or before your dental work to relieve stress and pain. There are a few varieties of techniques used to administer sedation therapy which include:
Inhalation sedation mainly involves the use of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Laughing gas is safe for adults as well as children and can be a great option if you have a dental phobia. With this method of sedation, a mask is placed on the patient’s face, and they are instructed to breathe in deeply. In some cases, the nitrous oxide is mixed with a local anesthetic when given to the patient.
It generally only takes a few moments for the laughing gas to work, though the effects wear off quickly after you stop breathing it in. Dentists are able to easily increase or decrease the dosage as needed during treatment. The majority of patients find this method to be sufficient on its own without the use of additional forms of sedation. Afterwards, patients are typically allowed to drive home or go back to work, and children are often permitted to return to school.
With IV (intravenous) sedation, the patient is given an IV line into their arm, delivering a steady flow of anesthesia and anti-anxiety medications, while being fully monitored for their comfort and safety. This form of sedation takes less time to hit the bloodstream than oral medication and allows the dentist to have complete control over the dosage given. Commonly used drugs include Valium, Propofol, Demerol, and Versed, either individually or in select combinations that your dentist chooses.
The effects of IV sedation can be described as putting the patient into a sort of “twilight” state, where they feel sleepy yet remain aware of their surroundings. IV sedation is often used particularly for longer or more invasive procedures, such as wisdom teeth extractions or for placing implants. Unlike with the use of nitrous oxide, IV sedation can only be conducted by dentists with additional specialized training like our in-house oral surgeon Dr. Allaeb.
Oral sedation provides a great option, especially for those with severe anxiety over needles used during IV sedation. Oral sedation involves the patient taking a prescribed pill from the dentist before their procedure begins. This type of sedation is easily administered, has a generally low rate of side effects, and allows the patient to be conscious (with potential grogginess) and respond to the dentist. Commonly used oral medications include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Halcion.
Though you’re awake during the procedure, many patients remember very little after it’s been completed. In some cases, some patients may become drowsy enough from mild oral sedation to fall asleep during treatment, though they can usually be easily awakened. It should be noted that the time needed for the sedation to kick in can vary between patients who metabolize medication differently, so some patients may need a higher dose than others. Since oral sedation takes time to take effect, it understandably also takes time to increase the dosage for a patient if needed. Due to these factors, oral sedation is certainly less immediate than inhalation or IV methods.
After your appointment, you will need to have someone to be able to drive you home from the dentist, so be sure to make preparations with a friend or family member in advance.
Since the previously mentioned sedation methods are so effective, it isn’t highly common for general anesthesia to be used for most dental work these days. General anesthesia is administered using a combination of inhalation as well as IV sedatives. With general anesthesia, the patient becomes fully unconscious and cannot be easily awakened until the effects wear off.
Who Benefits From Sedation Dentistry and Sleep Therapy?
There are many different reasons for why a patient might benefit from sedation. Some of these might include:
- Patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
- Those with a particularly sensitive gag reflex.
- Those with conditions like heart disease, respiratory conditions, and hypertension which can be aggravated by stress.
- Patients who have sensitive teeth, gums, or a generally low pain-threshold.
- Children with dental fears can often greatly benefit from sedation therapy. A bad experience as a child can sometimes shape one’s perception of dentistry for the rest of their life.
How Sedation Helps Patients with Special Needs
Special-needs patients with autism, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy might have trouble remaining seated for extended periods of time during a dental procedure. Those with special needs may not be able to fully express any dental concerns or issues they may be experiencing before they develop into more serious issues. Many special-needs patients also take medications which might cause adverse reactions when mixed with sedation.
Additionally, in the case of patients with autism, some might have a particularly high sensitivity for pain or pressure in their mouth. This might make certain dental procedures unpleasant, so sedation offers a great option to consider in these cases.
Things to Mention with Your Dentist
It’s always helpful to speak with your dentist about any worries you might have before your dental appointment. Sedation dentistry is quite effective, though communication is key, so any issues such as allergies to certain medications or pregnancy should always be mentioned to your dentist. A dentist will consider one’s medical history as well as their current physical health when determining the best course of action. Our goal is for you to have a positive experience, so your comfort and well-being remains a top priority.
While certain exceptions may warrant extra care and caution for some, the American Dental Association provides all dentists with the proper guidelines for monitoring a patient’s vital signs. Should it be necessary, your dentist will have all the necessary supplies to reverse a sedation when appropriate.
Don’t put off your next appointment because of fear or anxiety! Come visit The Stein Dental Group in Stamford Connecticut, and we’ll help you navigate how sedation dentistry might work for you!
What a nice group of people! They were organized, showcased safe & clean hygienic practices and (as always) managed to keep me calm during the exam. You’ll never have this much fun at the dentist!