Sedation Dentistry

Some patients may face difficulty at the dentist’s office because they’re either overly anxious or have difficulty sitting still for long periods. Sedation dentistry can help such patients overcome those barriers to accessing dental care so that their smiles can be as healthy as possible.

There are different options for delivering sedation, and your dentist will work with you to determine which one is the best fit for you. Keep in mind that depending on the method used, you may need to do some prep work before your appointment.

Call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members to learn more about sedation dentistry or ask any questions you may have about this treatment option.

Sedation Dentistry | Westborough Family & Cosmetic Dentist | Dr. George Ghaly DDS

What types of patients can benefit from sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves administering medications to patients that allow them to achieve a state of deep relaxation. Patients in a variety of scenarios can benefit from sedation dentistry, including:

Patients with Dental Phobia

As many as 75 percent of Americans have some fear of going to the dentist. In some cases, this phobia is so paralyzing that it keeps patients from getting even routine care like exams and cleanings. Sedation dentistry can help these patients relax while they are receiving dental care, and its amnestic effects mean that patients won’t develop bad memories to reinforce existing dental fear.

Patients facing lengthy, complex treatment sessions

In addition to relaxing you, the medications used in sedation dentistry alter your sense of the passage of time. Patients can tolerate longer treatment sessions while under sedation, which can result in treatment being completed in fewer appointments.

Patients who have trouble sitting still

Particularly fidgety patients can benefit from sedation to relax them.

Check with your dentist to see if sedation dentistry might be helpful as a part of your treatment.

Your Options for Sedation Dentistry

Our practice offers two delivery methods for sedation:

Nitrous Oxide

Patients inhale a gaseous form of sedation through a mask. Nitrous oxide takes effect almost instantaneously, and its effects are reversed quickly, usually before the patient leaves our office.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Patients take the anti-anxiety medication in pill form before arriving at our office, far enough in advance that the medication is beginning to take effect by the time of the appointment.

There may be specific considerations that influence the type of sedation that will be most effective in your case. Your dentist will advise you of your options so that you can choose the method that will work best for you.

The Benefits of Conscious Sedation

Our practice uses conscious sedation methods, which means that although the patient feels like they are in a sleep-like state, they’re awake throughout the appointments. This approach is preferable to general anesthesia for several reasons:

  • The airway does not need to be maintained artificially with conscious sedation as it does with general anesthesia.
  • The patient remains able to respond to the dentist’s commands throughout the appointment.
  • Lower doses of medications can be used to achieve the desired effect.

While conscious sedation is generally safe and much safer than general anesthesia, we still vigilantly monitor the vital signs of patients who are under sedation to act quickly at any indication of distress.

We encourage you to discuss any risks associated with sedation dentistry with your dentist to make sure that you are comfortable with them.

Preparing to Receive Sedation Dentistry at Our Office

Depending on the type of sedation that you will be receiving, you may need to prepare in advance of your appointment at our office. While nitrous oxide requires no action before the appointment, patients receiving oral conscious sedation will need to do a few things in advance.

You will receive a prescription for the anti-anxiety medication before your appointment. You must get that filled so that you have it available to you on the day of your appointment. You will then take the medication as directed before coming to our office so that you will be relaxed when you arrive.

It will not be safe for you to drive after taking the medication, so you must arrange for a responsible adult to bring you to the appointment. Additionally, you will still be under the effects of the medication when it is time to leave, so someone will need to drive you home, as well.

Common Sedation Dentistry Questions:

What is dental anxiety and phobia?
Dental anxiety and phobia is a fear of the dentist. This phenomenon can result from prior bad experiences at the dentist or just from the perception that going to the dentist is scary. The degree of such phobia can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, it can interfere with patients getting the care they need to make their smiles as healthy as possible.
What is conscious sedation for dental work?
Conscious sedation relaxes patients so that they can better tolerate dental treatments without putting them to sleep.
What is laughing gas?
Laughing gas is another name for nitrous oxide, a gaseous sedative that helps patients achieve light relaxation while receiving dental care. Nitrous oxide is popular because it can be administered in the office and doesn’t require any needles or advance preparation on the patient’s part.
How much does sedation dentistry cost?
The cost of sedation dentistry will depend on the method being used and the procedure is provided. Call our office for more specifics. Keep in mind that sedation dentistry can reduce overall costs for some patients by allowing them to complete treatment in fewer sessions.