Dental anxiety affects millions of Americans. Many dental patients fear that their general dentistry procedures will be painful or uncomfortable. This anxiety can be so debilitating that some patients avoid the dentist altogether. Over time, this can cause significant, long-term problems and affect your oral health. At Berger Dental Group in Columbia, SC, we offer options in sedation dentistry to help calm patients who are anxious about their procedures. Patient comfort is our top priority, and we make a commitment every day to foster an environment of comfort, peace, and relaxation.
With sedation dentistry options, you do not need to be anxious about receiving dental treatments.
It is important to understand the difference between conscious and unconscious sedation. Conscious sedation is administered either by oral medication or intravenously. Patients are still breathing unassisted and can respond to questions and directions given by the doctor and staff, if necessary. Most patients sleep throughout their procedure; and because conscious sedation affects memory, the majority of individuals will not be able to recall the treatment.
In contrast, unconscious sedation involves the use of general anesthesia, and is typically administered in a hospital setting by a professional who is licensed to perform anesthesia. During this type of sedation, the patient is intubated, completely unconscious, and cannot respond to instruction.
While general anesthesia is used on occasion in dentistry, most procedures are performed under conscious sedation. At Berger Dental, we offer two effective types of sleep dentistry: oral conscious sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation.
Patients who choose oral conscious sedation will be given a prescription medication. Typically, you will be instructed to take a pill or tablet approximately one hour before your appointment. Once you arrive, additional medication may be administered depending on your comfort level. Patients who are especially anxious may also benefit from medication the night before their treatment.
Because sedation medications directly affect your memory and motor skills, it is important to bring a friend of family member along with you who can drive you to and from your appointment.
To determine which type of sedation medication you will be given, your doctor will discuss your medical history with you in detail. The exact dosage will be determined based on your age, height, and weight.
For this option, sedative medications will be administered through an IV port. Because the dosage can be adjusted throughout the duration of treatment, this is the most controllable and predictable option. Additionally, any other medications can be administered easily if necessary, such as antibiotics, steroids, or even reversal drugs.
Before undergoing oral or IV sedation, you will be asked to fast for approximately six hours before your procedure. This includes all beverages, with the exception of small sips of water to take routine medications. If you are currently taking prescription medications, Dr. Berger will review them with you prior to your appointment, and instruct you which ones to take.
Because sedation medications directly affect your memory and motor skills, it is important to bring a friend of family member along with you who can drive you to and from your appointment. Driving should not be resumed until the next day. You should also plan to take at least one day off from work or school.
For your comfort, we recommend wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and flat, non-slip shoes. Jewelry, contact lenses, and makeup should also be removed before your procedure begins.
If you have been putting off dental treatment due to dental anxiety or phobia or you are simply are anxious about going to the dentist, sedation dentistry may be the solution for you. To learn more, contact us online or call our office at (803) 787-9793.
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