When Is Sedation Dentistry the Right Choice?
By Michael Flatley, D.D.S.
January 29, 2015
Category: Sedation
Tags: Sedation dentistry  

For millions of Americans, just the thought of a trip to the dentist produces classic symptoms of anxiety:

  • sweating
  • a racing heart
  • unease and panic
Even worse is the damage done when dental work is postponed to the point where it seriously affects an individual's oral health and overall well-being. In addition, some people worry about dental visits because they have a low pain threshold, gag easily or simply need a lot of dental procedures.
If these scenarios sound all too familiar, don't despair, and don't wait. Sedation dentistry can help you to relax and get that all-important dental care.
How does sedation dentistry work?
The patient and dentist should discuss the various oral sedation options and what may be best for the particular patient, his health history and the procedure(s) he requires. Common choices are:
  1. Inhaled sedation: Also called "laughing gas," nitrous oxide is administered via mask. It allows the patient to be relaxed but awake during his dental work.
  2. Oral sedation: Typically in pill form, this is a tranquilizer such as Valium, Atavan or Xanax. Taken at home before the appointment and perhaps again at the office, this medication helps the person take a nap in the dental chair and to easily wake up when the procedures are done.
  3. Intravenous sedation: Administered through a vein, sleep comes on quickly. This is a deeper anesthesia, and it has to wear off before the individual wakes up. Both oral and IV sedation require a friend or family member to transport the patient home.
  4. Local sedation: This is Novacaine or similar injection put right at the site of the restorative work or even dental cleaning to relieve any associated discomfort. It is often given by itself or along with inhaled or oral sedation. The dentist will swab the area with a topical anaesthetic before injecting the Novacaine.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that each patient discuss the benefits and risks of sedation dentistry with his doctor and dentist. Things the dentist and patient need to know are:
  • the patient's health history, including his medications, past surgeries, allergies and other reactions to medications
  • the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) drug guidelines for the patient's age and medical history
  • how the dentist may administer oxygen and drugs to reverse sedation
Sedation Dentistry with Michael Flatley DDS
Dr. Michael Flatley believes that sedation dentistry is very beneficial for individuals who have a high level of anxiety about going to the dentist. Those who choose sedation can feel relaxed and safe during their procedures and go home with improved oral health and an attractive smile.
Dr. Flatley and his staff wish to encourage those who are nervous about going to the dentist to give the office a call at 253-853-4955. When appropriate, they offer free conscious sedation to all new patients.


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