Sedation Dentistry

Does the thought of enduring a dental procedure have your hands shaking and your knees knocking? If so, you’re not alone! Many people have anxiety about dental visits, and some are so phobic that they avoid treatment altogether. If this is something you struggle with, sedation dentistry could be the answer. Sedation is very common, and it can be used for everything from routine cleanings to invasive procedures like surgery. 

At Accent Smile Center, we want you to feel calm and confident before, during, and after an appointment with us. Dr. Gatgens has been providing oral conscious sedation to patients since 2008, and has received many continuing education hours in sedation training. He is also ACLS trained, ensuring a safe sedation process by following the correct protocol with each patient. Let’s take a look at what sedation dentistry is, the types of sedation we offer, and how this option can help you overcome your fear and achieve a healthy smile!

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows us to use medication to help patients relax during a dental procedure. This makes the visit less stressful, and allows nervous patients to relax, cope better, and feel more positive in general about their treatment. Sedation also helps prevent spontaneous movement from the patient, leading to a safer experience overall. 

Sedation medication is not given to control pain or discomfort. However, it can help patients forget many details of the procedure, so they won’t be fearful or anxious about future appointments.

Dr. Gatgens working on a patient

Common types of sedation

There are several different types of sedation available, and each beneficial in its own way. Before we schedule you for a sedation appointment, we will assess your medical history, look at the type and duration of the procedure needed, and take your individual comfort level into account before recommending a particular method of sedation.

Accent Smile Center generally uses oral conscious sedation, which will allow you to communicate with us, follow instructions, and cooperate with our team throughout the procedure. We offer the following methods of sedation. 

Nitrous oxide

Also referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild sedative that is very safe and commonly used in dental patients of all ages. We administer this gas by placing a fitted mask over the nose. The mask carries oxygen mixed with the nitrous, and as the patient breathes in normally, uptake occurs through the lungs. The sedation takes effect in about five minutes, and the mask will remain in place until the procedure is complete. The patient will be awake throughout the procedure. 

When we’re done, the nitrous will be turned off and the patient will breathe in pure oxygen for a few minutes to clear out any remaining gas. Although there are no lingering effects, nitrous oxide may occasionally cause nausea. For this reason, we suggest only minimal food intake prior to the procedure. Patients receiving nitrous oxide can drive themselves home from their appointment. 

NuCalm relaxation dentistry

NuCalm is a drug-free alternative to traditional sedation dentistry. It only takes a couple of minutes to implement, and takes effect almost as quickly. NuCalm can also be used in conjunction with traditional sedation methods since there’s no interaction with the drugs.

NuCalm incorporates three different steps for the best results. First, we block light out. We then use the NuCalm Biosignal Processing Disc to deliver electromagnetic frequencies to the body. These frequencies help the patient’s brain interrupt adrenaline and cortisol release by mimicking what naturally occurs in the moments immediately preceding sleep. The final step involves “music” – that is, neuroacoustic software that has been designed to deliver frequencies to the brain that will guide the patient to Theta brain wave lengths. This is the restorative “healing” zone of deep relaxation. 

Oral sedatives

Oral sedation may be used in either pill or liquid form. The medication usually begins to work within about twenty minutes, and will make the patient relaxed, calm, and a little drowsy during the procedure. We will usually monitor patients for about half an hour after the procedure is complete, and the effects of it can last 4-6 hours or so. If you are scheduled for oral sedatives, you should not eat or drink after midnight the day of your appointment.  

IV sedation

For patients dealing with a dental phobia, complex medical histories, major dental treatment, or physical, psychological, or emotional special needs, we are able to offer IV sedation through a third party or dental surgeon. 

What to expect before, during, and after sedation

Dental sedation is a safe and simple process when the right preparation and aftercare occurs. For safety reasons, patients may be asked to restrict food and drink after midnight before a sedation appointment. A full medical history will be required prior to the administering of any sedation, including any current prescriptions, over the counter medications, vitamins, or supplements. The safety of our patients is a top priority during dental sedation, which is why we will closely monitor their blood oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate throughout the procedure.

Patients may sometimes feel confused, fussy, or nauseated following sedation. Some of the other side effects of sedation are a loss of physical coordination, dizziness, and sleepiness. If it’s at all possible, plan to take a sick day from school or work! For the first few hours after the procedure, patient should stick to soft food. Once the mouth has healed, the normal oral hygiene routine may resume.

Dr. Gatgens talking to a patient

The best sedation dentistry in Dickson with Accent Smile Center

Here at Accent Smile Center, we know that every patient has unique dental and orthodontic needs. Whatever your reason for inquiring about dental sedation, Dr, Gatgens and the rest of our expert team are here to provide you with the best experience possible, through kindness, compassion, and customized care. To find out more about how we can help you achieve the healthy smile you deserve, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation!