For some people, a visit to the dental office is a very stressful, emotional event. If you have a hard time getting through a dental procedure because of nerves or anxiety, you can relax — Dr. Townshend, Dr. Albert and Dr. Khouri offer options that could help put you at ease.
Conscious Sedation — also known as Sleep Dentistry — is quickly gaining popularity. It's when a patient receives medication to relieve their anxiety and minimize any discomfort during a dental visit.
Almost anyone — adult, teen or child — is a candidate for Sleep Dentistry. It's particularly useful for people with a fear of dental visits, or people with a history of anxiety/panicking.
With fearful children or moderately anxious adults, we recommend oral sedation. The patient is simply given a liquid or pill containing medication to help relax them.
For very anxious patients, or those having such procedures as wisdom teeth removal, we offer IV sedation under the care of an anesthesiologist. With the anesthesiologist monitoring the sedation, the dentist is free to concentrate on the dental visit.
The sedative medication is administered by intravenous, and the patient enters a state of dreamy sleepiness.
Patients are allowed to go home following the procedure, but cannot drive for the rest of the day — and must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The medication wears off very quickly, but could leave you feeling unsteady for the first few hours. So it is important to be careful not to fall while walking or going up or down stairs.
Q: What do I need to know before the procedure?
Q: What happens during the procedure?
A: We'll take your vital signs and begin an I.V., which will provide you with addition sedation. You may also receive "freezing," depending on the procedure. You'll enter a dreamy, euphoric state, and may or may not fall asleep. Your mouth and jaw muscles will be relaxed while we work on your teeth, and you won't realize — or won't care — what is being done. An anesthesiologist will monitor you carefully the entire time, ensuring your total comfort.
Q: What happens after the procedure?
A: You may feel a bit unsteady on your feet, but the medication wears off fairly quickly. You must be accompanied home by a responsible adult, and you cannot drive for the rest of the day. Once you're at home, you should rest quietly, but you can eat normally (providing you don't have dietary restrictions because of your procedure).
Q: How do children respond to Sleep Dentistry?
A: Sleep Dentistry is a great solution for children who are anxious or fearful of dental procedures, or for children who simply could not remain still and calm during a procedure. Younger children may receive oral sedation, but these options will be discussed with parents in the initial consultation. After the procedure, children should be closely monitored, because they will feel unsteady and could be at risk for falling and injuring themselves.
Q: Does my dental insurance cover Sleep Dentistry?
A: It depends on your coverage, but most dental plans cover sedation when administered with oral surgery. We would be happy to help you understand your available coverage, so please ask us at your next appointment.