Sedation Dentistry in the East Valley
If you are anxious about seeing the dentist, Dr. Heaton can help! Despite massive advancements that allow the skilled dentist to perform procedures less invasively and with minimal discomfort as compared with the recent past, many people still have dental anxiety due to a past experience or something they’ve heard. Many patients end up putting off receiving important preventive and therapeutic dental care due to dental anxiety, and end up with bigger problems in the future. Dr. Heaton can help you to feel safe and comfortable while receiving the care that you need. A wonderful way he can help is through sedation dentistry.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry utilizes medicine to help you to have a more positive and worry-free experience at the dentist. These medicines can be administered as a vapor through a nosepiece, orally as a pill prior to the appointment, or via an IV line. Dr. Heaton is skilled in each of these types of sedation, and will help you to select the one that best suits your needs. These methods help you to relax, reduce your memory of the procedure, make the procedure feel very brief, and virtually eliminate your discomfort.
Who can benefit from sedation dentistry?
Patients who have anxiety about receiving dental treatment or who cannot relax in the dental chair are prime candidates to receive dental sedation. Sedation also benefits those who have a low tolerance and/or threshold for pain. Another situation where sedation dentistry is very helpful is if you would like to get a large amount of treatment done within a single visit. The sedatives will help you to stay relaxed and help time pass very quickly. Often you will be surprised when the treatment is complete because you feel that only enough time has elapsed to just get started. In addition, those with a strong gag reflex will be greatly benefited by sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide sedation is also very popular for pediatric patients.
What are the differences between the methods of sedation?
Inhalation Sedation – This method uses a nosepiece which administers a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen for the patient to breathe. It helps to calm anxiety and reduce the sensation of pain. The patient will be completely conscious and the effect wears off very quickly after the procedure is complete. During the procedure, the level of nitrous oxide will be adjusted based on your body and needs. An advantage of this method of sedation is that after waiting several minutes to assure that you are alert, you can safely drive yourself home from the procedure, eliminating the need to inconvenience a family member or friend.
Oral Sedation – In this method, the patient is given an anti-anxiety pill to swallow (usually of the benzodiazepine class) and given enough time for the drug to kick in before the procedure begins. Depending on the drug administered, you may not remember much from the appointment. A disadvantage of this method compared to the others is that the level of sedation cannot be adjusted. You will also need to arrange for someone to drive you home.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation – This method requires a needle to be placed into a vein of the hand or the inside of the arm at the elbow. A drug is administered via a tube that runs between a bag of saline solution with the drug and the needle. This method provides the most profound (strongest) sedative effect of the three but you will still be able to respond to instructions. After the appointment it may feel as though you had been asleep because you will likely have no recollection of the procedure. The effect begins almost instantaneously and your doctor will monitor your vitals, “fine-tuning” your level of sedation throughout your time in the chair. As is the case with oral sedation, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home, and your doctor may recommend that you have someone to monitor and assist you for a period of time after the procedure.
Is sedation safe?
Although there are risks associated with any procedure in dentistry and medicine, you can feel confident knowing that your doctor at Smiles of Chandler has the experience and expertise needed to provide you with a safe and enjoyable sedation experience. Your vital signs are closely monitored and nitrous oxide and IV medicines are adjusted to ensure that the dose you are receiving is just right for you. As a precaution, your doctor at Smiles of Chandler will go over you medical history to ensure that dental sedation is a good fit for you.
If you feel that you could benefit from sedation dentistry, please see Dr. Heaton at Smiles of Chandler. Dr. Heaton has a vast amount of experience and can help you to have a positive, safe experience at the dentist. If you have questions regarding sedation dentistry, please call our office and we will be happy to answer them!
We invite you to call our Chandler office at 480-899-9484 to schedule a consultation.