Does the idea of going to the dentist even for a straightforward cleaning get your palms sweating and knees trembling? Would you put up with a painful and sensitive tooth, rather than seek treatment for it? You’re one of many people! In fact, the Arizona resident who doesn’t experience even a touch of anxiety when going to the dentist is the exception rather than the rule.
Dental anxiety and fear is perfectly natural. It’s when people avoid the dentist because of this fear that it becomes a very real problem and can lead to a deteriorated oral health. For these people, sedation dentistry is the answer. Sedation or ‘sleep’ dentistry is a perfectly safe option for many patients, whether they require invasive surgery or a standard dental examination.
What Exactly Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation involves the administration of medications that affect and depress the central nervous system. Unlike alcohol – which is also a CNS depressant – these medications are perfectly safe to use and are easily metabolized by the body, and so do not cause a ‘hangover,’ which many patients frequently ask about.
Dr. Gasser, our resident Sun City sedation expert, has special certification and is highly experienced in the administration of IV sedation. There are few dentists in Arizona that offer this service and with the degree of experience and expertise that Dr. Gasser has. Once a patient has received sedation, he or she will experience a deep sense of relaxation and detachment from reality. They feel calm and sleepy. Although sedation dentistry is frequently referred to as ‘sleep dentistry’ patients don’t actually go to sleep during a procedure. You will be able to respond to Dr. Gasser coherently enough, but you won’t remember anything from the procedure.
There are many different levels of sedation and the one recommended by Dr. Gasser will depend on several factors. These are generally the nature of the procedure being done and the severity of your fear and/or gag reflex:
- Minimal sedation: The patient is totally relaxed and fully awake.
- Conscious sedation: The patient is awake, but very mentally detached and is not likely to remember the procedure. Patients may also slur their words when they speak.
- Deep sedation: The patient is mostly ‘asleep’, but can still be easily awakened by the dentist.
- General anesthesia: The patient is in a state of unconsciousness.
These states of sedation can be achieved using oral medications, by breathing in ‘laughing gas’ or nitrous oxide or via IV drip.
Who Can Benefit From Sedation Dentistry?
If you don’t experience any fear or anxiety at the prospect of seeing the dentist, then there’s really no need for you to be sedated, unless you require a fairly complex and invasive procedure. Dr. Gasser generally recommends sedation for the following cases:
- People who have a low pain threshold or very sensitive teeth
- People who are phobic of the dentist
- People who have a strong gag reflex
- People (perhaps children) who can’t sit still
- People who need to undergo an invasive and potentially painful procedure, such as dental implant surgery.
Remember, the sedation techniques practiced by Dr. Gasser are extremely safe and closely monitored, so even children can benefit.
Important Note: If you are to receive sedation for your dental appointment it is very important that you arrange for someone to drop you off at the dental office and pick you up again. You will not be in a state to drive. Alternatively, you can make use of our professional car/limo services, which can be arranged to pick you up at your home before your procedure and drop you back off again afterward! Simply speak to our friendly staff to find out more about this service.
Dr. Gasser has advanced training and certification in sedation dentistry, allowing him to offer this – at times – indispensable option to patients who would otherwise not receive the dental health care they need to keep their teeth and gums in good condition.