Our philosophy is that the patient determines whether they are numb enough for treatment, not us. If the patient raises their hand and tells us they are not numb, we will stop and numb more. Headphones and TV can be used during the treatment. Using “Corah’s Anxiety Scale,” we can measure your anxiety score and determine appropriate antianxiety options. The following antianxiety options are for relaxation and do not guarantee that the patient will be asleep.
- Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) – Used for mild anxiety. A gas is inhaled through a nosepiece. The amount can be changed throughout the procedure, either higher or lower and recovery takes minutes.
- Oral Valium with or without Nitrous Oxide – Used for mild to moderate anxiety. Take 10mg of Valium® the night before the appointment and 10mg of Valium® an hour before the appointment. If needed, nitrous oxide can also be used.
- Conscious Oral Sedation – Used for high and severe anxiety. Take 10mg of Valium® the night before the appointment. Take .125 to .5 of Triazolam one hour before the appointment. May take additional Triazolam at the time of the appointment. Nitrous oxide will also be used. This method requires we monitor blood pressure, pulse, and blood oxygen level using a pulse oximeter. The patient does not need someone to drive them when only using nitrous oxide. The patient will need a driver if taking Valium® or Triazolam.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Delmarva Dental Services has had laughing gas available since 1981. It is used to lessen anxiety during dental care and does not replace the need for local anesthesia. This process involves placing a flavor-scented mask over the nose of the patient. A mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide is breathed through the mask and into the nose. The dosage can be changed at any time during the procedure. For example, someone may need a lower dosage in the beginning of the procedure, more in the middle, and less at the end. Some patients need the highest dose and some the lowest dose throughout the entire procedure. The minimum dosage of oxygen is 30 percent, maximum 70 percent, and the minimum of nitrous oxide is 30 percent, maximum 70 percent. The outside air we breathe has 22 percent oxygen, which allows someone to receive more oxygen than if breathing in normal air. The patient is fully conscious and able to talk, but may feel relaxed and distant. By the time the procedure is completed, the patient should be breathing 100 percent oxygen. They’ll be back to normal with a clear head. Some patients use oral sedation combined with nitrous. These individuals will need someone to drive them to and from the appointment. We have found that over the years many apprehensive patients use nitrous initially, but find they don’t need it after a few visits. There are patients who choose to use nitrous regularly for their dental treatment.
There are millions of people out there who do not get the dental care they need because of fear or anxiety. Are you one of them? Does the thought of going to the dentist make you weak with fear? Has it come to the point that it is impossible for you to pick up the phone to call the dentist for an appointment? Believe it or not, there are ways to conquer this anxiety with oral sedation.
What Is Oral Sedation?
Some have called it relaxation dentistry as you will leave the office feeling relaxed and calmed. It will be hard for you to believe that you have had dental work done. You may have been in the chair for hours and not realized it. Oral sedation will make getting your dental work done a dream. It involves a group of prescribed medications that you will begin taking the night before your big appointment. You will need someone to bring you to the office and take you home again, as drive safely won’t be possible until all the medications are out of your system.
Oral Sedation Treatment
Your first visit will be a “get to know you” visit. There is no actual work done at this time. It is an information gathering visit. We will sit with you and talk about what you want and need. We will take x-rays and look in your mouth. On your second visit is the consultation. Between the initial visit and this one, the doctor will review your x-rays and prepare a course of treatment for you, sometimes with several different options. The consultation lasts about 50 minutes where we will go over the proposed treatment with you. Once you have decided what course of treatment is best for you, we will give you the needed prescriptions for your sedation visit. You will take a tranquilizer, Valium®, the night before your appointment to relax and help you sleep through the night. On the day of your appointment you will take a short-acting sleeping pill, Triazolam, 1 hour before your visit. A responsible adult will bring you to our office and you will need to bring your medications with you. Once here, we will administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and you may be given an additional dose of Triazolam if needed. You will be monitored by our sedation team throughout your visit. After your visit, your driver will take you home where you will rest. The sedation medications will leave you with little or no memory of the sights, sounds, or smells of your visit, but will leave you feeling groggy. Once you have recovered, you will be amazed at how much was accomplished during your visit. Since you were so relaxed during the visit, you will feel very little discomfort from the effects of your dental visit.
There is hope out there for those of us who dread the visit to the dentist’s office. We can get all our work done and have a fabulous new smile without a worry in the world. So don’t let fear of the dental chair stop you from getting the beautiful smile of your dreams! Call us today!