If you have a history of a traumatic dental appointment, you may have great difficulty dealing with dental care. In some cases, the anxiety level is so high that your body seems to fight off the local anesthetic and you have difficulty getting numb. If that is you, sedation dentistry may be the answer.
Sedation Dentistry Options
Nitrous oxide gas
Nitrous oxide is a mild relaxant. During your appointment, you’ll breathe in nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) to calm you and give you a sense of well-being. However, you’ll be fully aware of everything during the appointment. At the end of your appointment, we’ll give you pure oxygen for a couple of minutes, which will quickly reverse the effects of the gas, and you’ll be able to drive home and return to your normal activities. In Baton Rouge, we offer nitrous oxide only at our Perkins Rd. location.
Oral conscious sedation
While oral conscious sedation doesn’t make you fully asleep, it seems that it does, because you probably won’t remember your appointment. You are conscious, so you can respond to our request to open your mouth, but we will have to help you hold it open. Unlike general anesthesia, your vital functions such as heart rate and breathing are not affected. Protective reflexes such as coughing to clear your airway are still present. The affects also linger after the appointment, so you will have to have someone take you home after the appointment and shouldn’t go back to any normal activities until the medication has completely worn off.
Oral conscious sedation is administered with an oral medication, usually triazolam, that you take about an hour before your appointment. We offer this service at both of our Baton Rouge locations.
Sedation Dentist Training
Dr. Theriot has received advanced post-graduate training in conscious sedation through the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS). This included training in pharmacology, resuscitation, and monitoring vital functions. The state of Louisiana requires that dentists administering conscious sedation obtain what they call a moderate sedation permit, which has educational and clinical requirements. Dr. Theriot has that permit and has many hours of training in this procedure.
Advantages of Sedation Dentistry
Calms and relaxes you – You’ll remain calm throughout your visit and probably won’t remember your appointment.
Allows us to accomplish more work – Some patients who don’t have heightened dental anxiety still elect to have conscious sedation because they need extensive complex dental work. Sedation enables you to have a lengthy dental appointment and helps us get much more work done because we can work more quickly.
- Tell us about your anxiety – Most anxious patients had negative dental experiences in the past, often during childhood. Dr. Theriot or Dr. Redhead will listen as you explain what causes your anxiety and what dental sights or sounds trigger or increase it. We’ll work to minimize or avoid the things that increase your anxiety.
- Review your medical and prescription histories – We’ll review the histories to ensure you’re a candidate for sedation and that you’ll receive a compatible oral sedative.
- Give you a prescription – We’ll give you an anti-anxiety medication to take before your appointment and arrive anxiety free.
How you’ll feel
You’ll feel so calm and relaxed that dental sights and sounds during your procedure won’t disturb you. You’ll be conscious and able to respond to our questions or directions.
What we’ll do
- Throughout your visit, at least one staff member will be with you. We’ll never leave you alone in a room.
- We’ll monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure.
- Since sedation doesn’t block pain, we’ll be administering injections of local anesthetic to the teeth we’ll be working on.
The side effects of oral conscious sedation will linger for a few hours after your appointment. Plan to relax at home for the rest of the day.
Does Insurance Pay for Dental Sedation?
Some plans provide sedation-related benefits in specific situations, but insurance plans vary. Check with your insurance provider to ask about plan benefits for sedation.
Ready for Relief from Dental Anxiety?
We’re ready to help. Call us to schedule an appointment or complete our Request an Appointment form.
“I highly recommend Theriot Family Dental Care. They are gentle, professional, and informative. Sedation dentistry worked wonders for my family member, who was quite nervous about having work done.” – Leah