Fear-Free, Pain-Free Dentistry with Sedation
Going to the dentist should never be a fearful or uncomfortable experience, yet millions of Americans neglect or put off proper care because of anxiety. If you’re one of the many people who avoid going to the dentist because of fear or anxiety, consider sedation dentistry at Monterey Peninsula Dental Group. We’re committed to ensuring every patient is comfortable during their dental appointments in our offices, so our dentists utilize the most modern treatments and sedation options.
It’s not at all uncommon for patients, young or old, to have fears about getting dental work done. In many cases, this kind of anxiety makes it so difficult for a patient to relax and sit through their dental appointment that they may avoid coming in for their needed dental care, or put it off until an emergency develops. Neither of those approaches is conducive to good dental health, but luckily, there are medical advances in sedation that make it possible for patients with these concerns to get the regular dental care they need without all the worry and fear.
If you are anxious or nervous about going to the dentist, if embarrassment about your teeth prevents you from going to the dentist, if you’ve had bad past dental experiences, if you have general anxiety or specific fears of needles or drills — these are all things that may make you a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Other possible reasons to consider it include having a poor gag reflex or a resistance to anesthetics, having limited time to complete a large amount of dental care, having complex dental problems requiring in-depth treatments, or if you experience an aversion to the sounds and smells of a dentist’s office. Some patients fear the injections or needles used while giving local anesthetics, and that fear can be moderated with the use of sedation.
Our Sedation Dentistry Approach
Even people who don’t usually have trouble with the dentist can start feeling anxious and tense during long procedures, so dentists often schedule short appointments, even when there’s a lot of work to be done. Sedation dentistry can help you relax and be able to get through longer treatments, which then makes it possible for complicated dental work to be done in a shorter time frame. That helps us give you a beautiful, healthy smile more quickly, with less pain and fear involved along the way.
Our sedation dentistry services take a few different forms for patients who experience dental anxiety or have had fear-inducing experiences at a dentist’s office in the past. Depending on your individual history and needs, we offer two main sedation choices that go beyond the usual local anesthetic used during dental procedures. Which one is best for you is something your MPDG dentist will discuss with you individually; that depends on what kind of treatment you need and how long you need to be sedated.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is effective for longer or more involved dental treatments, and can allow your MPDG dentist to accomplish your needed dental work in one or two longer appointments, instead of several shorter ones. It consists of oral medications taken an hour before the appointment, which are customized to the patient, whether a child or an adult. These may include sedatives and anti-anxiety medications depending on the patient’s needs, and our dentists will administer any additional medication needed when you arrive for your appointment.
This method of sedation induces a comfortable, relaxed state that patients experience as somewhere between being awake and asleep throughout the dental treatment. During sedation, patients experience no anxiety, don’t notice time passing during the procedure, and often do not recall the treatment being done. The use of oral conscious sedation is a good choice for patients with difficult anxiety or who need longer dental procedures completed. Afterward, it may take some time to recover from sedation, so we suggest having someone else drive you to and from your appointment.
This method also can help permanently reduce dental anxiety and fear, as the memory of the treatment is fuzzy or nonexistent to the patient and doesn’t further trouble them. Some patients report that after a few procedures done under oral conscious sedation, they no longer fear going to the dentist at all, since their unpleasant memories and associations with dental work have been softened or replaced by their positive experiences with sedation dentistry.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide sedation is great for patients who need sedation during a procedure, but are having a relatively simple or short treatment done. Its use is also popular for children who are afraid or can’t sit still during dental procedures and helps them be more comfortable and relaxed during routine appointments.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide and oxygen are combined in an odorless gas used in this kind of anesthesia, which is carefully customized to each patient’s sedation needs and takes effect in minutes. Sedation of this type is breathed in through a nasal mask or tube and doesn’t knock out the patient, allowing them to be more aware and awake during their appointment. Although they are awake, patients experience reduced anxiety, increased relaxation and a sense of euphoria. There is no memory loss as there can be with a deeper level of sedation.
The effects of nitrous oxide anesthesia wear off quickly and don’t prevent you from going back to work or driving yourself home. Nitrous oxide can also be used in combination with oral conscious sedation if your dentist feels both are appropriate for the patient and the procedure.
What to Know About Sedation Dentistry
At Monterey Peninsula Dental Group, our concern is your well-being. Before having any kind of sedation dentistry, we will want to know about your health history, any medications you take, and some lifestyle habits that may affect sedation, like smoking or drinking.
During sedation, our trained dental team will monitor things like your blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to be sure the anesthesia continues to be safe and effective throughout your dental treatment. Sedation dentistry is entirely safe, even for people who typically resist anesthesia. It also doesn’t involve IV needles, the use of which can cause additional anxiety for some people.
Talk to Our Office About Sedation Dentistry Today
We are happy to talk with you about how our sedation dentistry services work. If you have any questions about our sedation options or how sedation dentistry might help you, please call our friendly staff during office hours at 831-373-3068, or contact us online anytime. We serve patients and communities across the entire Monterey Peninsula and have been doing so proudly since 1972.
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I so appreciate the service I receive when I go to Dr. Lehr's Office for my checkups. I think the practice as a whole is much improved by technology and process improvements.
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