Being afraid is a common reason for avoiding the dentist; according to a survey of 1000 people conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation[i] people fear the dentist more than spiders. This fear often stems from bad childhood experiences with a dentist, severe gag reflexes, or fear of dental instruments. Here at Atlanta Sedation Dentistry we strive to provide our patients with a comfortable environment to relieve any anxiety they might have. As Dr. Kauffman is a trained member of the American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists we have a variety of options to ease dental anxiety including nitrous oxide and line IV sedation.
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. A mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen is administered through a nasal breathing apparatus. The patient remains conscious in a relaxed condition. Nitrous oxide has a sedative and analgesic (pain- controlling) effect. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide[ii]. Patients are able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment[iii].
With line I.V. sedation medications are administered through an intravenous line (I.V.). The patient falls asleep and is completely unaware of the procedure being performed. Some of the medications most commonly used are Fentanyl (opiate) and Versed (benzodiazepine). Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal breathing apparatus and the patient's vital signs are closely monitored. Dr. Kauffman offers patients the option of Dental Intravenous Anesthesia also referred to as "Twilight Sedation" for their dental treatment[iv].
Intravenous Sedation or "twilight sedation" helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. IV sedation is designed to better enable you to undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed; it will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep – a "twilight sleep”[v].
A thin needle will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. Once again some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and may not sleep at all[vi].
The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. It is very safe, much safer than oral sedation. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. I.V. Sedation is an excellent tool for alleviating anxiety, help in enduring lengthy appointments, and offering relief from more uncomfortable treatments.
At Atlanta Sedation Dentistry we are committed to providing our patients with highly personal and individualized care. We understand that dental anxiety is a real and serious concern for many people; and we are here to ensure that patients can receive the care they need in a way that makes them comfortable and safe individually. Give us a call today to get started on improving your oral health and wellbeing, free of fear.