Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It's sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry," although that's not entirely accurate, since patients can still respond to us and more importantly, maintain your reflexes meant to keep you safe. Providing dentistry to people who have been too fearful in the past to see a dentist has been another very satisfying experience. Often those who were nearly too nervous to sit in the chair have become “dental converts” and later tell me they no longer need any sedation and feel totally comfortable seeing us.
Sedation is most appropriate for people with a real fear or anxiety that is preventing them from going to the dentist.
Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
No. Many dentists offering “sleep dentistry” are only permitted to use pills, lacking the proper training for IV sedation. Pills are a nice way to achieve minimal sedation, but lack an immediate route for administration of reversal and emergency drugs. That is why we only recommend IV sedation for patients that need a deeper level of sedation. While many dentists use laughing gas, in order to provide the deeper levels of sedation that many people desire for their procedures, special training, usually in a hospital setting, must be completed after dental school. Dr. Halls received extensive post-graduate training working in operating rooms under the direction of anesthesiologists and oral surgeons while in the Air Force. Combined with annual continuing education, ACLS re-certification, and other requirements to maintain an anesthesia certificate, this training allows us to ensure a safe environment.
Sedation dentistry is very safe, and in many cases safer than no sedation at all, since the reduced anxiety can put less stress on your body. However, there is always a risk in getting anesthesia. That is why we always have a pre-sedation consultation. During this appointment, Dr. Halls will thoroughly review your health history, medications you may be taking, and perform a brief physical examination to evaluate your airway and listen to your heart and lungs. Any concerns will be discussed, as well as instructions for you on what to expect during your appointment.
Special items to discuss if you are considering sedation include sleep apnea, whether you use a CPAP or bi-PAP machine, any respiratory problems you have, or use of narcotics or mood-altering drugs, prescribed or not. Your safety is our chief concern.
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