At least 30% of Americans fear going to the dentist and as a result often avoid both routine and necessary dental care. However, the recent growth in awareness and popularity of sedation dentistry, particularly oral sedation (taking a sedative pill before your visit), has proven very successful in overcoming the fear and anxiety many feel when facing a trip to the dentist. For others oral sedation, as well as more traditional methods (Inhalation and I.V. Sedation), has simplified and made more pleasant their regular routine of dental care. Generally, sedation dentistry is performed under one of four methods.
Oral Sedation (a pill)
In the case of oral sedation the patient takes a sedative in pill form before arriving at the dentist office, the prescription for which can be filled at your nearest pharmacy.
Inhalation Sedation (nitrous oxide, i.e. laughing gas).
Oral Sedation in Combination with Inhalation Sedation
I. V. Sedation (medication administered intravenously)
Dr. Caputo earned his certification in Intravenous Conscious Sedation from the Medical College of Georgia in 1995
What Type of Sedation is Most Appropriate For Me?
The most appropriate form of sedation for a particular patient is largely dependent on four factors:
- Oral sedation can be used as part of any dental treatment.
- What type of sedation is most appropriate given the complexity of the procedure being performed?
- Generally, the more complicated or invasive the procedure the more likely sedation may be used in conjunction withinhalation sedation, or I.V. sedation, to provide the greatest level of patient comfort.
- Which form of sedation dentistry is most appropriate, given the patient’s overall health, specific health issues and pharmacological profile?
- Cost. The cost of oral sedation, inhalation sedation, and oral sedation in combination with inhalation sedation, are identical and approximately one-fifth (1/5) the cost of I.V. sedation.
See Dr. Caputo’s sedation dentistry fee structure for cost information.
What form of sedation is most appropriate in a given circumstance is determined in advance by Dr. Caputo in consultation with the patient.
Sedation dentistry, in all of its forms, can be used with every procedure performed by Dr. Caputo, including cleanings and cosmetic treatments.
How Is Sedation Different from Local Anesthesia Such as “Novocaine”?
By definition, sedation dentistry involves the use of a sedative, the sole purpose of which is to induce a state of calm and relaxation in the patient before, during and after treatment.
Whether a patient is prone to fear and anxiety or not, a sedative in the patient’s bloodstream overcomes a very natural and normal response to fearful situations, including heightened emotions, increased sensitivity to pain and in some cases, extreme anxiety.
Anyone with extreme anxiety and apprehension when facing a fearful situation is experiencing an absolutely normal and very human reaction, present in every individual. It is the degree to which these fears manifest themselves that make for difficult circumstances.
In short, anxiety and fear are a normal reaction when facing what one perceives to be a difficult situation; the use of sedative is an entirely appropriate and reasoned response in this circumstance.
What are the Common Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry?
It is normal for a patient to wonder about the possible side effects of taking a sedative, if even for a brief. Dr. Caputo is extremely well versed in these areas and will take whatever time needed to answer your questions prior to your sedation appointment.
Common side effects associated with sedation dentistry are the same as any time you take a sedative, and often include the following:
- Less Alert and Unsteady for a Short Time.
You may feel slightly unsteady and less alert for a short period of time following your visit to the dentist.
- Little to No Memory of Your Visit to the Dentist
Several sedatives used in sedation dentistry have a mild amnesic effect. It is not uncommon for patients to have little or no memory of their visit to the dentist.
- Dry Mouth
Generally, sedatives reduce salivary flow during treatment, which actually makes your dentist’s job easier. It is normal for the patient to experience “dry mouth” immediately following treatment.
There are no long term side effects associated with sedation dentistry, other than a more pleasant experience at the dentist office.
Primary Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
In addition to increased patient comfort before, during and after treatment, sedation dentistry, in all of its forms, provides additional benefits.
- Eliminates fear and anxiety.
Yes, taking a sedative prior to treatment eliminates the fear and anxiety many feel, and some to the extreme. Sedation dentistry, while not new, was transformed by the introduction of oral sedation, the use of a pill. For many, oral sedation and other forms of sedation dentistry has unlocked a whole new world of dental care.
- Combining multiple procedures in one visit.
An often overlooked but significant benefit of sedation dentistry is the ability to provide several procedures for various ailments in one visit, reducing both the cost to the patient and number of visits to the dentist.
- Overcomes Gag Reflex
If a person is prone to gagging and discomfort the use of a sedative in most cases eliminates the “gag reflex”, a problem for many people.
In addition to people prone to fear and anxiety over the prospect of visiting the dentist, sedation dentistry is particularly well suited for those who:
- Are Frequently Prone to Discomfort and Muscle Soreness
- Have Physical Limitations Which Make Treatment Difficult
- Have Chronic Back and Neck Pain
The growth in both the awareness and popularity of sedation dentistry, and in particular oral sedation, is directly due to the significant benefits the patient receives.
Dr. Caputo welcomes the opportunity to discuss sedation dentistry and its potential benefits to you as a patient during your next visit.
Both new and existing patients can avail themselves of Dr. Caputo’s “Special Offer” of $96 for a Comprehensive Examination and Consultation as their pre-sedation treatment visit. See offer details.