Sedation Dentistry

Fight Dental Fear With Sedation Dentistry

It’s estimated that over 36 percent of the global population experiences some level of dental fear. Depending on the severity of the fear, even seeing a dentist for a routine cleaning might become an anxiety-inducing experience. It may even prevent patients from receiving dental care entirely. If you want to maintain your oral health, but dental fear is holding you back then the Drs. Starbody, and the rest of our Murfreesboro dental team can offer sedation dentistry.                                                    

Keep reading to learn more about dental fear, and how our sedation dentistry techniques can help.

What Is Dental Fear?                                                                                              

Dental fear, also called dental phobia/anxiety, is characterized as feelings of fear and/or anxiety towards the dentist. These fears may be due to any number of reasons including negative past experiences, the sound and sight of dental instruments, and common stereotypes about dentistry.                                                                                                    

Symptoms of dental fear may include:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • Visible signs of stress such as crying
  • Withdrawal
  • Low blood pressure or fainting

Dealing with anxiety in the dentist’s office can seem like its own challenge. Older patients in particular may face difficulties with the dentist, as they remember a time when anesthetics weren’t as effective, or widely offered, as they are today. Children, who tend to have little to no experience with the dentist and are fearful of strangers, are also especially prone to feeling fear and anxiety at the dentist’s office.                                            

No matter what the reason may be, dental fear can stop a patient from even seeing the dentist, resulting in an increased risk of oral health issues or the progression of existing oral health issues. That’s why we offer sedation dentistry solutions to put our patients at ease, so they can receive the quality dental care they deserve.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?                                                                                              

Sedation dentistry, also called sleep dentistry, refers to the substances your Murfreesboro dentists can use to put you in a state of calm during dental procedures. These substances help combat dental fear and anxiety so you can maintain your oral health in peace. We offer sleep dentistry in the form of nitrous oxide, but we also offer relaxing techniques in the form of pain medication during and after your procedure.                                                    

Additionally, in our comforting environment, we have a staff that takes all the necessary steps to keep you relaxed and calmed throughout your visit. We even offer advice on how to deal with dental fear on your own.

Who Can Benefit From Sedation Dentistry?                                                                                            

People who can benefit from sedation dentistry include patients:

  • With mild to severe dental fear
  • Who are very young and/or are unused to dentists
  • Who have a strong gag reflex
  • Who has resistance to anesthetic or a low pain threshold
  • Who find it difficult to sit in the dental chair for long, extensive appointments
  • Who have certain medical conditions or disabilities
  • Who are elderly and more prone to fear and embarrassment around their oral health

Keep reading to learn more about our sedation dentistry techniques and other techniques and advice we offer to help control dental fear.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) Sedation

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is one of the most widely utilized forms of sedation dentistry. It takes the form of a colorless, non-flammable gas that your Murfreesboro dentist will have you inhale during your procedure. As the nickname implies, nitrous oxide often produces feelings of giddiness and euphoria.                                                                                                        

Nitrous oxide is a form of conscious sedation, meaning it isn’t designed to put you to sleep. You’ll be awake and responsive, allowing our Murfreesboro sleep dentists to better monitor your vitals and identify signs of possible complications. However, you may become so relaxed that you fall asleep anyway, although you can easily be woken up so your Murfreesboro dentist can check on you.                                          

Nitrous oxide is administered in-office with a simple mask and the effects tend to wear off within minutes once the flow of gas has stopped. Unlike oral and IV sedation, the effects of the nitrous oxide wear off so quickly that you’ll recover your faculties soon after the gas is turned off and can even drive yourself home. Nitrous oxide is convenient and painless, requiring no injections and no pills taken at a specified time beforehand.

Important Guidelines For Nitrous Oxide Sedation                                                    

Nitrous oxide is the most commonly used and often the safest method for sedation dentistry. However, there are some guidelines you’ll need to follow beforehand to help ensure your safety and that the procedure goes smoothly.                            

  1. Refrain from eating anything eight hours prior to the sedation appointment. Eating before the appointment can lead to emesis (vomiting) and asphyxiation (choking).
  2. Clear fluids are allowed up to 4 hours prior to the sedation appointment since these are the fluids that will leave your system fastest, reducing the chances of choking and/or vomiting.
  3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and short sleeves so you stay comfortable and so we can more easily monitor vitals.
  4. Nitrous oxide usually wears off very quickly, but if it’s deemed necessary by your dentist, please come to your appointment with a responsible adult who can drive you home.
  5. Do not wear contact lenses, jewelry, or nail polish to the sedation appointment. Contact lenses can dry your eyes out or damage them while you’re sedated. Jewelry can damage the body due to pressure and interaction with surgical equipment. Painted or otherwise obscured nails can hide signs of cyanosis, an issue caused by low oxygen levels in the blood which often results in blue-ish discoloration of the lips, face, and nail beds.

Pain Medication

Whether a past experience was actually painful or you’ve heard horror stories about supposedly painful experiences had by others, fear of pain is a common reason people avoid the dentist. Patients often wonder how they’ll handle pain during and after the procedure and how long the pain will last as they recover. Your Murfreesboro sedation dentist and the rest of our team want you to know that we prioritize your safety and comfort at all times.                                                    

During and after your procedure, we utilize pain medications as needed. A commonly utilized method for controlling pain includes local anesthesia. While the anesthesia is usually administered via injection, the anesthesia blocks out the function of the nerves, stopping pain so your procedure can go forward as planned. Additionally, to help you recover in comfort during your healing process, we’ll prescribe the appropriate pain medication.

Skilled, Relaxing Staff

Obviously, a patient can’t be comfortable or relaxed in a dentist’s office where the staff seems unskilled or unpleasant and this is especially true for patients who have dental fear. Mental tension can actually worsen your dental experience significantly. Fortunately, your Murfreesboro sedation dentist and the rest of our staff are both highly skilled and well-trained in providing relaxing solutions for our patients.                                                    

Everything we do at our Murfreesboro dental office we do with compassion and expertise. Our dentists offer combined decades’ worth of dental expertise so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Whatever procedure you undergo, we will customize your treatment to suit your unique dental needs.

Your sedation dentist will ask you questions before, during, and after your procedure to ensure you stay comfortable throughout. If something is making you feel uncomfortable, we encourage you to speak to your sedation dentist or any of our staff so we can correct the issue at once and help you feel at ease.

A Comforting Environment

As surely as patients need skilled, compassionate staff, they also need a comforting environment. Our Murfreesboro dental office is designed and maintained with your comfort and the comfort of all of our patients in mind. We’ve worked hard to improve the atmosphere of our office, down to our reception area.                                                    

To further improve your comfort levels, your Murfreesboro sleep dentist and our dental staff can take steps such as reducing noise, playing calming music, and adjusting your seat. From the moment that you enter our offices, we want you to feel welcome, calm, and ready to improve the way that your teeth look and feel.

How to Deal With Dental Fear

Methods for dealing with dental fear shouldn’t be exclusive to the dentists’ office. In fact, our Murfreesboro dentists and our dental staff encourage patients to practice methods for reducing dental fear before they arrive for their appointment. Here are a few steps our sedation dentists want you to consider taking to reduce dental fear and anxiety:

  1. If your child is coming in for an appointment, consider having them visit a few times beforehand. We’ll introduce ourselves and build a relationship with your child so they feel less afraid when returning to our office.
  2. Our Murfreesboro dentists can also explain what will take place during the procedure to help your child feel more comfortable on the day of their appointment. Knowing what to expect will help take some of the fear of the unknown out of the experience.
  3. If you have an upcoming appointment, look up videos online detailing your upcoming procedure or ask any of our Murfreesboro dentists what your procedure will entail.
  4. Avoid caffeine and tobacco products before your appointment as these can increase your anxiety.
  5. Choose a time that works for you and doesn’t require you to rush to or from your appointment. We’ll work with you to schedule a time that’s convenient for you and works for your schedule.
  6. Ask your Murfreesboro dentist if you can bring headphones so you can listen to music or relaxing sounds. Not having to listen to the sounds of dental equipment can be especially helpful for patients who are triggered by loud noises, so headphones can help.
  7. As mentioned earlier, speak up if something is making you feel uncomfortable or scared. We’ll have a much easier time keeping you relaxed and comfortable if we know what’s wrong.
  8. Focus on taking slow, regular breaths. Don’t try to hold your breath as this can make you feel stressed out and faint.
  9. Consider giving meditation a try. Learning the techniques for proper meditation a week or two before your procedure can help you stay calm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sedation dentistry safe?                                                                                                            

Sleep dentists, also called anesthesiologists, are trained extensively in the proper administration of sedatives. Our Murfreesboro sleep dentists have the training necessary to safely administer sedatives and any other medications you may need to stay pain-free and feel safe. We’ll also closely monitor your vitals and your comfort levels throughout your procedure.                                                      

Who isn’t a good candidate for sedation dentistry?                                                                                                            

 There’s a chance you may not be a good candidate for sedation dentistry or you may need clearance from your primary care provider before receiving sedation. You may not qualify if you have one or more of the following:                                                        

  • Cardiac disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension

 Is sedation dentistry safe for children?                                                                                                            

Children often need sedation because they’re not accustomed to going to the dentist’s office and are more prone to fear and discomfort in these situations. Rest assured that we’ll thoroughly review their medical history before approving them for sedation to ensure they’re a good candidate. If you choose sedation for them, we’ll also closely monitor your child throughout the procedure.                                                      

 Is sedation dentistry covered by insurance?                                                                                                            

It’s likely that you can receive coverage for sedation dentistry from third-party payers such as insurance companies. We encourage you to contact your provider beforehand to confirm with them which costs they can cover. If you’re underinsured or uninsured, don’t worry. We want our patients to enjoy the benefits of sedation, so we offer affordable financing options including third-party financing through CareCredit.                                                      

Relax & Maintain Your Oral Health With Sedation Dentistry

Whether you experience slight anxiety before a dentist visit, or you’ve got a lifelong fear of dental procedures, we’re both understanding and welcoming in our pursuit of helping patients find a better standard of treatment and compassion. We proudly offer our sedation dentistry techniques and our methods for reducing dental fear to our Murfreesboro patients and patients from surrounding areas such as La Vergne, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN.                                                    

Don’t let dental fear stop you from getting the quality dental care you need to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile. Contact our Murfreesboro office and set up a consultation by dialing 615-896-1330. You can also submit the contact form at the bottom of the page and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly.

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