According to research, an estimated 50–80% of adults in the U.S. have some degree of dental anxiety, ranging from mild to severe. Dental anxiety involves a perceived threat such as a painful injection or procedure, the discomfort of keeping one’s mouth open for an extended period of time, or a treatment plan that takes months to complete. At Columbia Center for Implants & Periodontics, it’s our goal to provide the best treatment possible delivered with your ultimate comfort in mind. Our anesthesia options in Columbia, MD provide a relaxing and calming experience for patients with dental anxiety/phobia, a strong gag reflex, or older adults with advanced periodontal disease. Sedation also enables our team to perform more complex procedures that require lengthy time in the dental chair.
As we age, oral health is more important than ever. It can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of daily life. Older adults may avoid dental visits for a variety of reasons, including more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment may further prevent older patients from seeking dental care.
If dental anxiety is preventing you from getting the dental care you need, you’ll benefit from receiving some type of sedation. We highly recommend sedation dentistry for patients with any of these issues:
All anesthesia options in Columbia, MD are administered and monitored in the safety and comfort of our modern practice environment. Both Dr. Sanju Jose and Dr. Andrew Chon trained under the tutelage of one of the few accredited dental anesthesia programs in the country and are certified to provide IV sedation for dental procedures. IV sedation is an integral part of their treatment protocol. Thanks to this certification, the costly expense of having treatment performed in an operating room or same-day surgical facility is eliminated. While few patients need general anesthesia, we work with a board-certified anesthesiologist if the need arises.
Nitrous oxide, more commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a mild sedative agent that safely and effectively manages pain and anxiety during dental treatment. This involves inhaling colorless and odorless nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a small mask that fits over your nose. You breathe normally and feel the effects of nitrous oxide within minutes. Nitrous oxide slows down your nervous system to make you feel less inhibited. While you may feel lightheaded or tingly, experience heaviness in your arms or legs, or even giggle a little, the relaxation effects wear off quickly with little to no adverse reactions.
This is the most customizable form of conscious sedation. Although some people sleep, it’s more common to be comfortable, calm, relaxed, and drift in and out of sleep—also called “twilight” sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and not sleep at all. The amnesic effects of the drug make you forget the procedure, which provides an excellent benefit for those with dental anxiety. The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. IV sedation is very safe and ideal for patients with severe dental anxiety or for more involved procedures like full mouth dental implants. Due to some lasting effects, someone will need to drive you home after your procedure.
A thin needle is placed into a vein in your arm or hand and this is attached to an intravenous tube through which medication is administered to help you relax and feel comfortable. During IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time, an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medication.
Unlike nitrous oxide sedation and IV sedation, this sedative in the form of a pill is taken in the hours leading up to your appointment. Oral sedatives used for this purpose are typically a drug class called benzodiazepine (e.g. Valium, Halcion, and Xanax). These drugs decrease activity in the parts of the brain that control fear and anxiety. The result is a highly relaxed and calm mood that enables our team to effectively carry out the procedure. This is a good option for patients with dental anxiety that fear needles. Due to effects of the sedative, someone will need to drive you to and from our office.
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