There's so much dentistry can do these days to make your mouth healthier and your smile more beautiful. Yet many people don't take advantage of this because of a long-standing fear of dental treatment. If you are one of these people, rest assured that we can provide an experience that's free of anxiety and pain. We can do this by blocking your sensations of pain with local anesthetics or by giving you medication that can help you relax. Sometimes both are needed to ensure maximum comfort, especially if you are someone for whom the injections that deliver local anesthetics are themselves a major source of anxiety.
When you are afraid of dental treatment, your guard goes up and your pain threshold goes down; anticipating that something will hurt makes you hypersensitive to every sensation — even sound. If this describes your experience in the dental chair, then you should talk to us about sedatives we can give you during your visit to make that anxiety melt away.
Before recommending any particular sedative to you, we will first need to obtain your complete health history, including any medications you are currently taking — both prescription strength and over-the-counter. It is also important for us to know if you smoke or drink. On the day of your treatment, you may need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment as certain medications take time to wear off.
Ways to Relieve Anxiety
Oral Sedation — Oral sedation (given by mouth) is a popular option for many people precisely because it does not require the use of needles. Oral sedatives are either swallowed whole in pill form or can be dissolved under the tongue. Both methods work in a matter of minutes. A variety of oral sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-dissolving) medications have been developed through extensive research and testing to make your experience of dental treatment as comfortable and relaxing as possible. All have long safety records after decades of use, and several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning you will remember little to nothing, even though you are conscious throughout the treatment. Commonly prescribed medications include Valium®, Halcion®, Sonata®, Ativan®, Vistaril®, and Versed®. To learn more, view our chart on Types of Oral Sedatives
We offer an option of in-office conscious sedation with a Registered Nurse Anesthetist for any child that may be anxious for dental work. The in-office sedation goal is for the child not to remember what could be a traumatic experience.
Though not required by the LA State Board of Dentistry, the presence of our CRNA is solely for the safety of your child. Our dentists can concentrate on completing the dental procedure while the CRNA can fully monitor the child’s response to the sedative drug and their response to the procedure. We are aiming for a mild to moderate sedation and most children are fully arousable during the procedure. The CRNA will use a pulse oximeter to monitor the patient’s respirations and oxygen saturation. An EKG monitor and blood pressure cuff are also used on every patient. This has been a very popular choice for many of our parents because they are assured that while we cannot promise the success of every child behaving for this option, we readily use Versed as one of our sedative medications, and it has wonderful amnesic properties. For those parents looking to fully sedate their child for dental work, we would recommend this in a hospital setting. Our doctors are on staff at several local hospitals.