Unfortunately, some patients may have had negative experiences with previous dentists before seeing Dr. Chei. Others may have developed some dental fear merely due to society’s perceptions of dental care, inaccurate though they may be.
In the worst case scenario, this dental anxiety can be so severe that it keeps people from seeking routine dental care and leads to more serious – and painful – conditions. Interventions to treat those more advanced oral diseases tend to be more invasive, which in turn, can reinforce the patient’s fear.
Fortunately, sedation can be a valuable tool to help these patients get past their dental fear and get the treatment they need to maintain their healthy smiles. Conscious sedation puts patients into a state of deep relaxation. Although they feel as though they’re asleep, patients actually remain conscious throughout the procedure, so they are able to respond to Dr. Chei’s instructions. Additionally, the airway remains open, unlike in general anesthesia, in which the airway must be artificially maintained.
Furthermore, the sedatives have an amnestic effect. That is, patients will have no recollection of the appointment after it is complete. So, they won’t develop more negative memories that add to their fears.
General anesthesia can be another option for fearful patients. This method does render patients unconscious and requires the airway to be maintained, but it can still be appropriate in certain cases.
You don’t need to be a fearful patient to benefit from sedation, either. Patients who are in need of complex, time-consuming interventions may also want to take advantage of sedation because it allows them to tolerate lengthier treatment sessions. This can reduce the number of appointments needed to achieve the desired treatment goals.
If you choose sedation, Dr. Chei will thoroughly review your options with you and help you decide on the delivery method that is most appropriate for your case. While you are under the effects of the sedation, your vital signs will be carefully monitored for any signs of trouble that require prompt attention. Prior to your appointment, you will also receive instructions on how to prepare for the sedation. For example, IV sedation and general anesthesia require the patient to fast for at least 8 hours prior to the procedure. You will also need to make arrangements for a responsible adult to escort you home after the appointment if the medication’s effects have not yet worn off.
Patients who are considering sedation for a more comfortable experience at our office may have the following questions.
Dental anxiety and phobia are extremely fearful reactions or attitudes that some patients have regarding dental treatments and examinations. They may have experienced unpleasant or painful dental visits in the past that cause this fear. Or they may have grown up in a family that relayed the message that dental appointments were meant to be dreaded. The negative consequences of dental anxiety are significant. Patients can develop serious oral health problems that can also compromise their overall well-being. Ironically, more advanced issues like cavities or gum disease require more involved interventions, which can increase the patient’s fear. We strongly encourage patients who are affected by dental fear to explore techniques and strategies that can help them get past that fear and get treatment in our office.
Conscious sedation uses anti-anxiety medications to help the patient achieve a deeply relaxed state, although they remain awake and able to respond to Dr. Chei throughout the appointment. Because the patient is conscious while under sedation, this may be a preferred method due to lower risk and patient comfort in comparison to general anesthesia. The medications used in conscious sedation may be delivered in different forms. Dr. Chei will explain the options offered in our practice to you.
The specific cost of sedation dentistry will vary from patient to patient and is influenced by different factors. Dr. Chei will educate you on the type of sedation recommended based on your needs and preferences, as well as other associated expenses that you can expect.