Taking care of your mouth is crucial to ensuring that your teeth and gums remain healthy. However, brushing and flossing are only two components of maintaining optimal oral health. Professional oral care is also important. If the thought of stepping foot into a dental office fills you with fear or anxiety, you may avoid necessary treatment. Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can help with sedation dentistry.
What Happens if I Avoid Dental Treatment?
Avoiding dental treatment can be detrimental to your oral, and overall, health. If issues go undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, they only continue to grow worse. As issues worsen, they increase your likelihood of serious complications such as infections. If infections develop, bacteria can enter into the bloodstream. Once there, the bacteria can lead to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedation to help you remain calm and relaxed while we perform your dental procedures. When you are calm, you can get the treatment you need when you need it, preventing issues from becoming worse. There are different levels of sedation available depending upon your specific situation and your needs.
||Minimal. This is the lightest form of sedation. You are still completely conscious and able to respond to questions and requests. While conscious, you are relaxed.
||Moderate. Moderate sedation puts you in a sleepy state, although you are still conscious. Under this sedation, it is common to face temporary amnesia, where you are unable to recall parts, or any, of your procedure.
||Deep. Deep sedation puts you on the brink of unconsciousness. In some cases, patients even fall asleep.
||General anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you are made to sleep through your procedure.
Why Should I Consider Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is common for patients who suffer fear or anxiety over the idea of undergoing dental treatment, and who may otherwise avoid treatment without this type of assistance. Sedation can also be helpful in other situations such as
||You have a strong gag reflex.
||Your pain threshold is low.
||Your teeth are extremely sensitive.
||You have trouble sitting still.
||You need much dental work or your procedure will take a long time.
What Are My Sedation Options?
There are several different options for sedation.
||Nitrous oxide. Commonly called laughing gas, this type of sedation is the mildest form available. You inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a small mask over your nose. Sedation goes to work right away. Not only are you more relaxed, but your pain tolerance is raised, and your gag reflex is weakened. Once the procedure is over and the gas is turned off, the effects wear off quickly.
||Oral conscious sedation. Oral conscious sedation is a type of moderate sedation. You take medication by mouth about an hour before your procedure. The medication goes to work usually within 30 minutes and the effects last several hours.
||IV sedation. IV sedation can be used for moderate and deep sedation, as well as general anesthesia. With this type of sedation, medication is delivered directly into your bloodstream through a needle. The medication goes to work almost instantly, and the effects last for several hours.
Sedation dentistry can help you to feel more calm and relaxed. When you feel more relaxed, you can get the treatments you need when you need them, avoiding the need for more invasive, expensive procedures later. For more information, and to find out if sedation dentistry is right for you, call Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at (610) 435-6161 today.
Other Sedation Options
We offer nitrous oxide and oral (conscious) sedation, IV sedation, Ketamine Dart, Sevofluane Mask, and general anesthesia as options for our patients.
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that will help you relax. It is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called "laughing gas," is one option we may offer to help make you more comfortable during certain procedures. It is not intended to put you to sleep. You will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions we may have. The doctor will ask you to breathe normally through your nose, and within a few short minutes you should start to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide. You may feel light-headed or a tingling in your arms and legs. Some people say their arms and legs feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed. Talk to us about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for you at your next appointment.
For more information, visit www.mouthhealthy.org
Oral (Conscious) Sedation
Oral sedation dentistry allows the doctor to create a safe and comfortable dental experience for patients who avoid the dentist out of fear.
With sedation, your dentist can work more effectively by helping you become as comfortable as possible using well established and proven methods. There are a variety of sedation medications that are taken orally or "sublingually" (under the tongue). All sedation medicines are administered at our offices, under the care of an assistant.
This type of dental care does require that you have a driver to bring you home from your appointment, as it takes several hours for the medication to completely wear off. For more information about oral sedation at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, please call us at (610) 435-6161 today!
Intravenous conscious sedation (AKA IV Sedation) is a very popular method of sedation that we at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery offer all of our patients including, pediatric, adult, and medically compromised patients. IV sedation is extremely popular among patients who have a strong dislike of dental work, because it allows them to avoid anxiety and feel completely at ease while having work done.
What Does it Do?
IV sedation puts you in a relaxed state of mind but does not put you to sleep. You will remain awake and be able to respond to any requests the doctor may have while you are sedated. Patients often experience partial or total amnesia for the full period of sedation. That is to say, you will not remember most of (or sometimes all of) the procedure. Meanwhile the drugs we use will give you a very pleasant feeling of euphoria.
You will be aware of what is happening while it is happening. You will feel at ease with what is happening. You will be able to respond to our requests during the procedure—all this and you won’t remember a thing!
Is it safe?
We at Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery only use sedation techniques that have been approved by the American Dental Association. To ensure your safety we will go over your medical history and request a list of medications that you are taking.
The application of the IV is the easiest part, just a small prick in your arm and in no time the effects of the drug will kick in. You will feel calm and before you know it the procedure will be over. You may remember snippets of the procedure but probably not much. We encourage you to bring a friend or family member with you to any appointment in which you will receive IV sedation to ensure a safe return home.
The end result is a worry-free visit to our office. We care about your comfort and want you to give us a call at (610) 435-6161 with any questions you may have regarding IV sedation.
General Anesthesia Sedation
Some procedures that involve surgery require the patient to be placed under general anesthesia. For some, a trip to the dentist can be a large undertaking filled with anxiety. We understand that not everyone has had great experiences at the dentist and to those individuals we offer general anesthesia. Whatever the reason, general anesthesia is an extremely useful tool to have at our disposal.
How it Works
General anesthesia refers to any form of sedation where a patient is kept in a state of controlled unconsciousness. When put into such a state the brain doesn’t respond to any pain signals that are sent to it. Further, because the patient is unconscious, they do not feel pain. General anesthesia is usually administered through an intravenous (IV) system but can also be delivered through a mask whereby the patient breathes in the anesthetic.
Is it safe?
At Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, all of our Doctors have an Unrestricted General Anesthesia from the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry. All the Doctors are ACLS, PALS and BLS trained. During their residency training they have obtained rigorous anesthesia training and have performed hundreds of IV sedation and General Anesthesia cases. All the Doctors in the office are surgically trained to establish a surgical emergent airway if required during General Anesthesia.
Receiving General Anesthesia
Before we begin your procedure we will need to gather some information from you on your medical history along with a list of any medications you might be taking. This is a safety precaution that we take very seriously. Administration of the anesthetic comes next, through either an IV or (in the case of people who have issues with needles) a face mask. Once the anesthetic is administered it won’t take long at all before you are in a deep sleep.
In this sleep you won’t be able to feel anything and you will be totally unconscious. Upon waking you may be disoriented or slightly nauseous but we will be there to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Because the effects of general anesthesia can take a few hours to wear off, it is wise to bring someone to your appointment who can bring you home and make sure you are comfortable. We may also suggest that you sit in our office for a while to recuperate from any lingering side-effects.
Sevoflurane Mask Induction
At Lehigh Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, patient comfort is our top priority. We are the only office in the Lehigh Valley that performs “Sevoflurane Mask induction” in the office setting.
Sevoflurane is an anesthetic gas, which is particularly useful in Pediatric patients who will not tolerate Intravenous (IV) line placement due to extreme anxiety or fear.
The patient is induced into General anesthesia simply by placing a mask in front of their face for a few seconds. The mask will deliver Sevoflurane, which after a few breaths will cause the patient to become sedated. Once they are sedated, an IV line is placed and they are maintained under anesthesia using intravenous drugs for the remainder of their surgical procedure.
Please contact us to learn more about Sevoflurane Mask Induction.
Another useful option for older patients who are extremely anxious and frightful is a “Ketamine Dart”. This is an intramuscular injection (similar to a Flu shot) which consists of three different drugs (Ketamine, Versed and Robinul). Approximately 3–5 minutes after administration of this injection, the patient becomes sedated, allowing dental procedures to be performed safely.
We also offer IV sedation, Nitrous oxide and Oral Sedation (with Versed syrup) as other anesthetic options for our patients.
We cater to patients who have had a traumatic/unpleasant dental experience in the past at other offices and our aim is to make their visit with us as painless and stress free as possible.
At the consultation appointment, we will discuss which anesthetic modalities will be best suited for you or your family member.
Please contact us to learn more about the Ketamine Dart.