Dental phobia is one of the most common fears in the U.S., preventing millions of people from properly taking care of their teeth. It can be particularly difficult to deal with because people know they need to go to the dentist, but they just can’t compel themselves to make an appointment. Another segment of the population who typically has difficulty making it to the dentist are people with special needs as well—those who are physically or intellectually disabled, behaviorally disordered, or medically compromised. Dr. Anna Willison, your sedation dentist in Dallas, understands the struggles these people have, and that is why she uses a variety of techniques to make it easier for them to finally get their essential dental care. Today, we’re going to talk about why sedation is so helpful, and how Dr. Willison uses it to treat people.
How Sedation Dentistry Helps
Sedation, in general, is used for two distinct purposes. Firstly, it helps anesthetize a patient to any physical discomfort they may feel during their treatment. This is usually the biggest barrier for most people who are afraid to go to the dentist; they believe their treatment is going to be painful. Thankfully, modern sedation techniques are able to completely numb people during even the most invasive procedures so that they barely feel anything at all. Dr. Willison never wants to cause her patients pain, and she uses sedation so they can come into her office with the peace of mind knowing they will have a comfortable experience.
The other benefit is that it helps calm anxious thoughts. Most of the time, it’s just the idea that treatment will be painful that actually prevents people from seeking dental care. After a patient has been sedated, their mind slows down, calms, and anxious thoughts become much more manageable. This allows them to relax and follow the doctor’s commands during their procedure, which only helps her complete it faster. A patient is left with a positive experience that will make it much easier for them to come back to the dentist in the future, and that is one of the biggest benefits of sedation.
For special needs patients, sedation may be the only way for them to get the care that they need. For people who are severely physically or mentally disabled, the task of laying still for just an hour may be impossible. Furthermore, they might be more sensitive to certain sensations that cause a procedure to feel extremely uncomfortable. Sedation makes it possible for millions of special needs people to finally get the care that they need, which is important because they tend to have higher rates of dental problems.
The Tools of Sedation Dentistry
At the Dallas Center for Oral Health and Wellness, we have two ways that we sedate our patients, and they can be used for any procedure from a standard check-up to placing dental implants.
- IV Sedation: For this method, a powerful sedative is administered intravenously by a certified anesthesiologist. Patients will feel its effects very quickly, and will be put into a complete state of physical and mental relaxation. They achieve a sleep-like state called “twilight consciousness,” where they will be awake and able to listen to their Dallas dentist, but have little to no recollection of the treatment afterward.
- In-Hospital General Sedation: This method is mostly used for our special needs patients. Dr. Willison is actually on the medical staff for Medical City Hospital. Here, she is able to provide a completely safe environment to perform dental care, and will work with an anesthesiologist. With general sedation, a patient will be completely unconscious and have no memory of their treatment afterward. For many, it is the only way they can get basic dental care.
As you can see, sedation helps us treat the most sensitive patients with relative ease, making it simpler for people to finally get the care that they need. If you are nervous about going to the dentist or have a special needs person in your life, please feel free to call us and ask any questions that you have before your appointment. We’ll always make sure you know what to expect when you come to see us.
If you’d like to know more about how sedation works, or want to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today.