Sedation Dentistry

Dental patient relaxing.If the thought of visiting the dentist makes you feel anxious or afraid, rest assured you’re not alone. In fact, many patients in the St. Louis area are so fearful of visiting the dentist that they opt for no treatment at all, sometimes going years without even a routine cleaning and examination.

Not only does this keep patients from getting the general dental care they need to maintain optimal oral health and prevent small, easy-to-treat problems from growing significantly worse in the future, but also prevents them from seeking out treatments that can positively transform their smile and overall quality of life.

Fortunately, sedation dentistry has enabled dental experts like yours truly at Ballas Dental Care to provide a dental experience free of pain and stress, helping even the most fearful of patients to get the care they need.

Oral sedation.

What Exactly Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves using sedative medications to reduce or entirely eliminate a patient’s anxiety so they can receive the dental treatments they need. The types of sedation used in dentistry include:

  • Oral Sedation – The level of sedation by route of oral medication ranges from minimal to moderate, depending on the dosage. For minimal sedation, patients are usually given a pill roughly an hour before the procedure to help them feel at ease. With minimal doses you will remain fully awake but feel pretty drowsy. Higher doses can be administered to produce a more pronounced sedative effect than simply feeling drowsy, but you will still remain fully awake (although it is not uncommon for patients to feel so groggy that they fall asleep during the procedure).
  • Inhaled Minimal Sedation – Nitrous oxide (a.k.a. “laughing gas”) can be inhaled by route of an oxygen mask placed over your nose to promote relaxation. Your dentist will be able to control and adjust the level of nitrous oxide you receive over the entire course of the procedure. Because the effects wear off fairly quickly, this is the only form of sedation you’re able to receive and still drive yourself home afterward.
  • Intravenous (IV) Moderate Sedation – Sedatives administered directly into the vein begin working much faster than those that are inhaled or taken orally. Just as with laughing gas, the dentist has full control over the amount of sedative you receive throughout the entire procedure.
  • Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia – With deep sedation you will be on the brink of unconsciousness but still capable of being awoken, whereas with general anesthesia you will be completely unconscious until the anesthesia wears off or the effects are reversed with the help of special medications.

Sedation Dentistry Is Typically Recommended for Patients Who Have:

  • Extreme dental fear and/or anxiety
  • A low tolerance for pain
  • Difficulty sitting still in the dentist’s chair
  • Extremely sensitive teeth
  • An easily triggered gag reflex
  • An extensive amount of dental work that needs to be completed

Gentle, Stress-Free Dental Care in St. Louis

Whether your dental anxiety stems from negative encounters in the past or you’ve simply always found visiting the dentist to be an anxiety-inducing experience, you can breathe easy knowing the skilled team at Ballas Dental Care will always go above and beyond to ensure you feel at ease.

For more information about what we offer or to speak with one of our caring, knowledgeable team members about whether sedation dentistry is right for you, contact us online or call (314) 432-5544 today.​​