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Sedation Dentistry

Millions of people avoid the dentist every year out of fear, going without the care and treatment they need for a healthy mouth and a beautiful, fully functional smile. By reducing stress and alleviating anxiety, especially through pain reduction and management, sedation dentistry options like IV sedation, laughing gas, and local or general anesthesia provide a way for people who are anxious about the dentist to receive quality dental service. 

At Castle Dental, we know that going to the dentist can be intimidating and scary for many, but we also know that receiving good dental care is vital to both your oral health and your overall health. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry services to help make your experience at our offices positive and comfortable.

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What are the common types of sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry developed as part of a response to earlier dental care that was performed without any type of pain management. Rudimentary tools, practices, and methods prior to the 20th century often meant people experienced significant pain, discomfort, and infection during and after dental procedures, so many simply went without dental care at all. However, advancements in technology and the integration of modern medicine have allowed dentists to develop customized sedation and pain management options that not only help keep you comfortable but also help the dentist perform your treatment more quickly and efficiently.

Castle Dental offers several types of sedation dentistry. Our dentists will work with you to determine which option is best for you based on your unique situation, needs, and concerns.

Some common forms of sedation are:

  • Inhaled Minimal Sedation (IMS). Inhaled Minimal Sedation (IMS) is more commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” delivering a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide designed to help you feel relaxed. Nitrous Oxide interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters and causes the release of extra dopamine, leaving you relaxed and even feeling a little silly. Laughing gas is a good option for patients dealing with anxiety. Your dentist is able to control the level of sedation, increasing it if you begin experiencing additional stress or decreasing it toward the end of the procedure. Because IMS works via your respiratory system, the effects are not long-lasting once you stop receiving it.
  • Oral Sedation. Sedatives like oral sedation come in the form of a medication–typically benzodiazepines–and generally need to be taken about an hour prior to the appointment. This is a more moderate form of sedation. Not only do they help you to feel more relaxed, but they actually disrupt the communication between nerve cells and the brain, essentially slowing down the nervous system. They will likely make you feel sleepy or loopy, but won’t knock you out completely.
  • IV Sedation. IV sedation is very similar to oral sedation. The medications are typically benzodiazepines as well, but the difference is that these are delivered directly to the bloodstream via an IV. When a medication goes through the veins rather than being processed through the stomach, it is able to work much faster and allows the dentist to control the sedation in real time. 
  • Deep Sedation. Deep sedation occurs when you are put under general anesthesia, rendering you unconscious. You enter a deep sleep and have no awareness of what is happening. This kind of sedation is not typically used for anxiety, but rather for longer and more extensive procedures such as wisdom tooth removal. 
  • Local Anesthetic. A local anesthesia can be injected directly into the gums to numb a particular tooth and the surrounding tissue. This only provides local pain management and does not affect your mental state at all. 

When is sedation dentistry necessary?

The main reasons for sedation dentistry are pain management and anxiety. Based on what treatment you need and your concerns, you and your dentist will determine the right sedation option for your particular needs. Because IMS and local anesthesia are the only sedation options that allow you to drive yourself home after treatment, all other forms will require a support person to get you to and/or from the appointment. 

  • Deep sedation is typically used for more extensive surgical dental procedures such as wisdom tooth removal, dental implants or other procedures involving the jawbone and emergency dental treatments. These procedures require patients to be completely still and relaxed for longer periods of time.
  • Other dental procedures such as fillings, crowns and root canals may require laughing gas, oral or IV medication in addition to the local anesthetic. The sedation your dentist administers will depend on your level of anxiety and discomfort. For example, a person who is only slightly nervous about a filling may be given laughing gas to calm their nerves. A person who has delayed a significant dental treatment due to intense fear and anxiety may require IV sedation to keep them from an anxiety attack or other mental distress. 

Is sedation dentistry expensive? 

There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of sedation dentistry, such as: 

  • What kind of sedation was used?
  • How much medication was used?
  • Was an anesthesiologist required?

If you plan on filing with a dental insurance plan, it may be wise to research and confirm how much coverage they offer. If you plan on paying for your treatment without insurance, be sure to talk to the team at Castle Dental ahead of time so you know what to anticipate. 

You should never have to sacrifice quality of care because of inability to pay, so Castle Dental provides a variety of options to help you afford sedation dentistry. We accept most major dental insurance plans and CareCredit, but we also offer flexible financing and payment plans as well as our own OneSmile Dental Plan. Contact an office near you for more information.

Let Castle Dental Make Your Dental Experience More Comfortable with Sedation Dentistry

Don’t let anxiety or fear–or even embarrassment about your anxiety or fear–keep you from the dental care you need. At Castle Dental, we understand how powerful the fear of pain can be, and we’re here to help. No matter what’s been keeping you from the dentist, you’ll receive the same level of compassionate, personalized, and attentive treatment. And, with sedation dentistry, it can all be done quickly and easily while you stay comfortable.  

If you need dental treatment, but feel uneasy about it, or if you just want to talk through general concerns about the dentist, schedule an appointment online today! We offer flexible scheduling and complimentary consultations at multiple convenient locations, all staffed with highly trained personnel prepared to help you meet your dental health goals.