Many patients have some degree of anxiety when it comes to receiving dental treatment. There are a number of different methods of sedating a patient so that he or she is more comfortable in the dental office, including oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide sedation. Cosmetic dentist Edward Shukovsky, DMD offers sedation dentistry to his patients for a calmer, more pleasant dental experience.
Dr. Shukovsky is an active member of the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, or DOCS. This organization is at the forefront of safe, easily-administered inhalation (nitrous oxide, aka “laughing gas”) and oral conscious sedation. Dr. Shukovsky has taken additional training and is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), which further assures the safe administration of sedation. To learn more about sedation dentistry, contact our practice today.
- What Exactly Is Sedation Dentistry?
- Sedation Dentistry Candidates
- Dr. Shukovsky’s Sedation Dentistry Story
- Types of Sedation Dentistry
- Sedation Dentistry Procedure
- Sedation Dentistry Side Effects
- Sedation Dentistry Cost
What Exactly Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a way to alleviate a patient’s anxieties and fears during dental treatment. The sedation dentistry options available at our practice can help create a more relaxing and comfortable treatment process, allowing patients who have what’s known as “dental phobia” to receive the treatment they need.
If you suffer from dental phobia, even just a mild degree of it, you should know that you are not alone. In fact, millions of individuals have some level of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Sedation dentistry can be a very effective solution for patients who simply want to relieve the nervousness they feel and achieve a more pleasant experience!
Am I a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
Some patients have such a powerful fear of dental procedures that going to the dentist for necessary work becomes seriously delayed or does not happen at all. There is no one demographic that fits this population. High anxiety may be caused by claustrophobia or an early childhood experience; however, sometimes, there is no known explanation for the fear. Some of these patients have a grave fear of just walking into a dental office and seeing the hygienist for care. Yes, a cleaning, X-rays, and examination with a hygienist can feel like climbing Mt. Everest or jumping out of an airplane for some! Whether it’s a rational fear or irrational fear, it does not matter. By getting sedation for dental care, these patients get their needed treatment in a safe, comfortable environment.
Dr. Shukovsky can talk with you about your dental fears and anxieties and explain the sedation dentistry options available at our practice. He will also take a look at your medical history and review any medications that you may currently be taking. This process will help determine whether you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry and, if so, which technique will be most ideal for your needs and expectations.
Dr. Shukovsky’s Story
Recently I treated a woman that has been a patient of mine for sixteen years, yet I had never had the opportunity to work on her since there was no need for any dental care except for her dental cleanings by my hygienist and my routine examinations. On her last hygiene appointment, however, she asked me to replace her front bridge that was breaking down and was becoming unsightly. When I said there was no problem with replacing this bridge, that it would take two appointments and she could set these appointments up whenever it was convenient for her, I was very surprised when she stated that she was ‘scared to death.’ I have known this patient for sixteen years, never thinking that she had this extremely deep fear of getting dental work! She and I reviewed her medical history, her concerns, and we discussed what type of sedation would fit for her dental care. We decided that oral conscious sedation was the best way to go considering her needs. The sedation and dental procedures went extremely well, but the best part was when she told me the next day how comfortable it went. She hardly remembered the dental visit! She could not thank me enough for making a truly frightening and threatening procedure easy. When I first got into dental sedation I thought, ‘do my patients really need this type of adjudicative treatment?’ After all, I give a painless injection of local anesthetic. But I have since realized that there is a patient population that has many different types of fears, and dental sedation has become a lifesaver for them. We can now turn a difficult experience into a pleasurable experience. And that is cool!
Types of Sedation Dentistry
We offer two major types of sedation dentistry here at our practice, including:
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation can be an ideal option for patients who experience moderate to severe levels of dental anxiety. This technique requires you to take a small pill about an hour before the procedure. During treatment, you should feel so relaxed that you may even fall into a light sleep; however, you will not be unconscious. Oral conscious sedation dentistry is typically so effective that many patients have little to no memory of the procedure taking place!
Learn more about oral conscious sedation.
Nitrous oxide is one of the most popular sedation dentistry options available—you might have heard it referred to as “laughing gas!” With nitrous oxide, you won’t need to take any medication before the treatment. In fact, it’s administered right at the start of your procedure. This technique involves the nasal inhalation of nitrous oxide gas, which should almost immediately induce a more relaxed sensation throughout the treatment.
Learn more about nitrous oxide sedation.
How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?
Sedation is an art, as much as any other procedure. It involves knowing what would be the optimal medication or medications for the given situation, and the dosages of those medications for that particular patient. We want to keep the patient in the most comfortable state possible with the least amount of drug. Sedation is different than general anesthesia in that it simply eliminates anxiety. It is a light sedation, also known as conscious sedation. The patient can hear, speak, and breathe on his or her own, but does not care about what is going on. We can do our dental work while the patient is relaxed and anxiety-free.
During sedation the patient is continuously monitored for pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen desaturation. In addition, the patient is evaluated for awareness and comfort throughout the procedure. Both nitrous oxide sedation and oral conscious sedation can put the individual into a more relaxed state; however, these two options involve very different techniques. Nitrous oxide requires the patient to breathe in a special type of gas, which can keep them relaxed, yet alert, throughout the treatment. The effects typically wear off right after the procedure and there is usually no recovery period necessary. Oral conscious sedation can have deeper relaxation effects, and the patient typically remains able to communicate during the procedure; however, there will need to be a slight recovery period afterward because the effects can linger for a little while. Patients who have oral conscious sedation will need to arrange for someone to bring them home following treatment.
What Are the Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry?
Whether there are side effects of sedation dentistry, and to what extent, will depend on the specific type of sedation that is administered for your procedure. Nitrous oxide usually does not produce side effects after treatment. In fact the effects of nitrous oxide often wear off within seconds after the gas nozzle has been removed. With that in mind, some patients may feel just a bit of temporary lightheadedness right after the procedure. Oral conscious sedation will likely produce some level of grogginess and drowsiness after treatment, and some patients may experience temporary dizziness, a “dry mouth” feeling, or even a headache following the procedure. These effects are typically brief and fade quickly. Another side effect of oral conscious sedation that many patients actually welcome is its ability to make individuals forget that the treatment ever took place!
How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?
The cost of sedation dentistry at our practice typically starts at $50 for nitrous oxide sedation and $175 for oral conscious sedation. The total price will depend on the exact type of sedation dentistry you undergo and how long your dental treatment lasts. The cost of sedation will be included in your overall treatment plan. Once your plan is designed during the initial consultation with Dr. Shukovsky, a member of our dental team can produce an estimate of the total cost and answer any questions you may have. Our practice accepts an array of payment methods, as well as dental financing plans available through CareCredit® and LendingClub®. These reputable companies offer a comprehensive selection of financing plans for qualified applicants who are interested in paying for treatment on a convenient monthly basis.
Learn More about Sedation Dentistry
For certain patients, sedation is absolutely necessary in order for their dental work to be completed. We are available to discuss making your dental visits and treatments as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible. Contact our office today for more information about sedation dentistry.