Sedation Can Help Relax Dental Patients

Posted on Jun 10, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In our office, many procedures involve incisions into tender gum tissues. As a Periodontal practice, it is necessary to penetrate periodontal tissue in order to treat some levels of gum disease. It is also necessary to open up gum tissues to place dental implants. And, in repairing gum recession, performing gum grafts or recontouring gum tissues, incisions may be part of the process.

We pride ourselves on providing optimal comfort to all patients – for any procedure. However, we are aware that many people have developed gum disease or lost natural teeth as a result of dental fear. Being afraid of dental visits prevents a great many adults from having regular dental care. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that nearly 70% of American adults have some level of dental fear.

Just as a general dentist does prior to a filling or extraction, we use novocaine to numb the areas in the mouth being treated. However, we also offer I.V. sedation to help patients be totally relaxed throughout their procedure.

For fearful patients, I.V. sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’) places them in a sleep state prior to and throughout their procedure. Although the patient may be able to respond to my request to things like, “Turn your head a little towards me,” they are essentially sedated to the point of snoozing. This removes the anxiety of anticipating things such as sounds or smells that may evoke thoughts of pain.

Another benefit of I.V. sedation is its ability to erase most or all memory of the procedure afterwards. While a few patients may remember hearing my voice a time or two, the time is generally erased from their memory. All most remember is a peaceful sleep.

I.V. stands for intra-venous, which is translated as “in the vein.” The sedation is administered by a drip into a vein, typically in the arm. Patients are in a sleep-like state very quickly thereafter. Throughout your time, you will be closely monitored by a trained staff member who uses advanced safety equipment.

Once your treatment is completed, the I.V. is removed and you will be monitored for a recovery period in our office. Your companion will then return you home where you will relax or even nap for a brief time until you feel back to normal. We do advise that I.V. sedated patients avoid driving or using machinery for 24 hours.

Some patients who have no dental fears prefer the relaxation effects of I.V. sedation. Certain procedures that require lengthy appointments can be tiring and I.V. sedation is an advantage to the patient in being comfortable while in a dental chair in one position for long treatments.

Our ultimate goal is to restore our patients to a healthy, confident smile. We believe this can be accomplished with gentle hands and a respectful environment. In many situations, sedation can be advantageous to providing a positive experience and successful outcome.

If you have dental fears or wish to discuss comfort options related to periodontal or dental implant procedures, feel free to call us at 828-274-9440.


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