Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for Sedation Dentistry. Our office obtains the necessary permit and continuing education required by the state of Texas to administer (oral conscious) sedation, commonly referred to as “Sleep Dentistry”.
Advantages to patients include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur at during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
There are two different types of Benzodiazepines:
- Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is actually a form of hypnosis which is a form of physiological sleep.
- Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs which relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.
While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some are highly targeted at areas within the brain which focus on sleep. Others act in a more specific way and target fear centers in the brain. In most cases, higher doses act as sedatives and induce sleep, while in lower doses, they reduce anxiety without sedation. Benzodiazepines are also Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants (i.e. there can be a decline in blood pressure and breathing). It is important to note that they shouldn’t be mixed with other CNS depressants such as alcohol. Its important that you utilize the dose your dentist or doctor recommends. It is possible to overdose, and overdoses could lower your breathing to dangerously low levels, which could result in coma or death. Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Make sure you have an escort, even if you traveled by bus or foot! It’s easy to become disorientated.
When not to take benzodiazepines:
Some of these drugs can affect your liver and heart. It’s important to check with your practitioner and/or pharmacist. You should be sure to inform your doctor or dentist if any of the following apply: known allergy to the drug, narrow-angle glaucoma, pregnancy, severe respiratory disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), impaired kidney or liver function, depression/bipolar disorder/psychoses, chronic bronchitis and some other conditions. It’s also important to let us know if you are taking other medications. There could be possible drug interactions.
Sedation Dentistry for the Elderly
As we age, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of our daily lives. To lead full and active lives, we need our teeth and gums. They allow us enjoy food, support speech and good conversation, and facilitate digestion. Dr. E. Wayne Simmons and Dr. Bryhn Simmons are dedicated to treating elderly patients with care and commitment to comfort and health. Elderly patients as a group tend to avoid dental visits for a variety of reasons, including: more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once their oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment further keep these patients away from the dentist. For elderly patients embarrassed or fearful of their current oral state, oral sedation dentistry provides the opportunity for Drs. E. Wayne Simmons and Bryhn Simmons to treat these conditions while the patient remains relaxed and unaware until “awaking” to an improved oral state!
Sedation Dentistry for the Disabled Dental Patient
It may be especially difficult for people with disabilities to obtain access to proper dental care. They must find a dentist who is skilled and compassionate, and who can provide services for which some dentists may not be qualified. At South Texas Dental Implants & Prosthodontics, we provide the expertise, state-of-the-art-equipment, and dedication to assisting special-needs patients necessary to ensuring great oral care for our patients. Disabled patients may face added challenges in maintaining their oral health. Their disability may make it difficult to brush or floss regularly; they may also suffer a severe gag reflex, or dry mouth as a result of medication. Dr. E. Wayne Simmons and Dr. Bryhn Simmons meets these challenges with oral sedation dentistry for the disabled.
Sedation Dentistry for the Fearful
Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people. Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles, sound of drills, fear of inadequate numbness, and severe gag reflexes are just some of the reasons people feel extreme anxiety when visiting the dentist. Many of the complex cases treated in our office are so because fear and anxiety has prevented patients from seeking the treatment they have needed for many years and even decades. Sedation dentistry obviously can solve a lot of these issues, but taking the time to understand a patient’s fears and taking simple measures to relieve those fears can go a long way.