If you have broken, missing, or hurting teeth but find yourself avoiding the dentist because of fear and anxiety, sedation dentistry may be right for you. From the mildly relaxing effects of nitrous oxide to the deeply restful state that IV sedation provides, finding a sedation option that will allow you to receive the dental treatments you need without fear or pain is possible.
It is very common for patients to experience anxiety and nervousness when visiting the dentist. At Brian Kerr DMD, PS in Lakewood, WA we are committed to helping you feel comfortable each time you come see us. We offer Sedation Dentistry, Nitrous Oxide, and Ultra Sonic Cleanings to assist in maximizing your comfort at our Lakewood, WA dental office. Find more information about our comfort services in the links below.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry provides a variety of solutions that allow patients with dental anxiety and dental phobias to relax. At Brian Kerr DMD, PS, we practice gentle dentistry. The Lakewood dental staff at Brian Kerr DMD, PS is trained in the delivery of a variety of sedation methods and will work closely with you to choose the one that best suits your unique needs. Whether you want to “take the edge off” or prefer dozing through your appointment (with little to no memory of your procedure), we have an option that is perfect for you.
When choosing a sedation method, it is good to know the levels of sedation that can be reached:
- Minimal sedation: This is the lowest level of sedation; you feel deeply relaxed but are awake and aware.
- Conscious sedation: This is a deeper level of sedation that may cause you to slur your words and have delayed reaction times. You may not remember your treatment clearly.
- Moderate sedation: This is the deepest level of conscious sedation we offer in our practice.
Types of Sedation
At Brian Kerr DMD, PS, we offer several sedation options. Your provider will meet with you to decide which one is best for you.
Nitrous oxide: This sedation option is administered through the inhalation of nitrous oxide gas (a.k.a. laughing gas) and works well for those with mild anxiety. This is the most common form of sedation in dentistry. It’s easy to administer and wears off quickly, so patients are able to safely leave the office on their own.
Oral conscious sedation: This is a pill that is administered orally and provides a deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide. This form of sedation is appropriate for those with moderate or severe dental anxiety. Most patients find that they have little memory of the appointment and doze through it. Assistance returning home after treatment is required.
IV conscious sedation: Also known as moderate conscious sedation, IV sedation is the most effective sedation method available and allows those with extreme fear to reach a deep level of relaxation. The dentist administers the sedative/anesthetic combination directly into the bloodstream, resulting in a precise level of sedation quickly. Patients enjoy a profound amnesia effect, resulting in little to no memory of the dental procedure.
Who Can Perform Sedation Dentistry?
As part of our dedication to delivering gentle dentistry, the doctors at Brian Kerr DMD, PS have completed the training and accreditation required to perform sedation dentistry. Washington State’s dental board carefully regulates the use of sedation techniques, so you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
Sedation dentistry is appropriate for people who can’t receive dental services because of their fear and anxiety. It is also appropriate for individuals who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Struggle with sensitive teeth or a strong gag reflex
- Need extensive work that requires multiple treatments; sedation dentistry allows the treatments to be done in fewer visits