First, We Can Help You Relax
We believe strongly that whenever possible, natural approaches to dental care are best, so we generally use sedation dentistry as a last resort. First, we like to help you feel more relaxed at the dental office. Our office is decorated in a relaxing, pleasant fashion. It doesn’t feel like a dentist’s office. We use aromatherapy to help reduce odor-based anxiety.
We listen to you about the sources of your dental anxiety and work to avoid them. This includes effective communication, explaining procedures to you and checking to make sure you’re okay with them before we proceed.
How Sedation Dentistry Can Help
Sedation dentistry helps you feel relaxed during a dental appointment. It can help you overcome many common complaints that can make dental visits uncomfortable, including:
- Dental anxiety
- Strong gag reflex
- Inability to get numb or stay numb
- Tenseness or soreness in jaw at or after a dentist appointment
- Inability to sit still for treatment
- Need to consolidate many treatments into a single visit
As well as other feelings that can make dental appointments unpleasant. We offer three forms of sedation dentistry: oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and IV sedation.
How Does Oral Sedation Dentistry Work?
Oral sedation is a simple approach to relaxing at the dentist. All you do is talk to us about the level and source of your anxiety or other concerns and we will determine if oral sedation can help you. Then we will talk about your medical history to make sure oral sedation is right for you.
If oral sedation is appropriate, we will write a prescription. If your anxiety keeps you from sleeping the night before, we might prescribe two pills: one that will help you sleep the night before and another for the dental appointment.
On the day of your appointment, take the pill shortly before heading in to our office, depending on how long your drive is. You’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, because you will be feeling the effects by the time you reach our office. You’ll be conscious, but relaxed, and you likely won’t remember much about the visit.
We will take you back into our comfort room, where you’ll have a blanket to keep you warm and close monitoring to make sure you experience no adverse effects.
When your procedure is finished, we’ll make sure you’re recovering properly from sedation before we release you. We’ll tell you about home care and follow-up instructions. We’ll tell them to your driver and give them in writing, too.
Nitrous oxide is another sedation dentistry option. Instead of taking a pill, you will inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide gas and oxygen. This mixture allows you to safely and quickly achieve a relaxed state during your appointment.
Nitrous oxide offers many benefits for patients. First, it not only provides sedation, it works as an anesthesia. In fact, nitrous oxide was first used as anesthesia, not as an anti-anxiety treatment. It allows you to start sedation right when your appointment begins. We can maintain sedation for as long as we need to for your appointment. Then, when your appointment is finished, you can recover relatively quickly. Usually, you can even drive yourself home or to work.
The main limitation of nitrous oxide is that it is probably the weakest anti-anxiety treatment. It’s great for mild to moderate anxiety, but for more severe anxiety, it’s often not effective enough.
For most people, inhaled sedation (nitrous oxide) or oral sedation is enough. But for some people or some procedures, IV sedation is recommended. This allows for a deeper level of sedation that helps with severe dental anxiety and can help with the discomfort of a procedure. It allows for more precise dosages so we can start and stop your sedation as the procedure demands. Sedation can last as long as necessary so we can achieve more complicated procedures. Most dental practices don’t have the training or equipment to offer this level of sedation, but we know our patients benefit from it.
Besides the difficulty of locating a dental practice that offers IV sedation in Rochester, NY, the procedure does have some limitations. Most importantly, the effects of sedation will linger after your procedure. You will need to take time to recover at our office to make sure you are okay. Then you will need a trusted, responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you for the rest of the day. The procedure is safe and complications are rare, but we keep it safe in part by watching carefully for complications.
If you would like to learn how sedation dentistry can help you get the dental care you need or desire, please call (585) 244-3337 or email us for an appointment at Contemporary Dentistry in Rochester.