“You might feel a little pinch.”
“This won’t hurt a bit!”
“Oh, that hurts you? I’m surprised.”
If you’ve ever heard any of these phrases uttered by a dentist, you probably have bad memories of painful dental appointments. You may even be avoiding routine preventive care, and we don’t blame you one bit!
We’re not going to lie. Sometimes dental cleanings and treatments can cause sensitivity. We dental professionals always do our best to predict when a patient may feel pain and counteract it beforehand. However, each patient may have a different pain threshold and varying levels of sensitivity in the dental nerves. A treatment that causes no pain for one patient may be excruciating for another. It can make the situation even worse when you feel powerless to move or deal with the pain, due to the fact that we are busy working in your mouth. Put the two together and it can make you want to forget going to dentist ever again!
Some patients are simply more sensitive than others, but that’s no excuse for you having to suffer through a painful appointment to get the oral care you deserve. If you’ve had bad experiences in the dental chair in the past, we invite you to experience painless dentistry through dental sedation.
How Does Dental Sedation Prevent Pain?
There are several forms of dental sedation. Some are better for anxiety and fear, while others have known analgesic (painkilling) effects. For example, oral conscious sedation relies on anti-anxiety medication, while nitrous oxide gas and IV sedation can prevent you from feeling negative sensations in the mouth.
For patients who wish to remain conscious during their appointments, nitrous oxide gas allows you to minimize any sensations of pain, while still being moderately aware of your surroundings. If you are concerned about safety, rest assured that nitrous oxide gas is incredibly safe, even for young children. In fact, this medication is considered so safe that it is commonly used to reduce the pain of childbirth for women in labor. Because the gas is inhaled in conjunction with oxygen, its effects end soon after the nose mask is removed.
Patients who seek a deeper level of sedation—i.e., those who want to be “knocked-out” during dental treatments—often choose IV sedation. This option includes analgesic, antianxiety and other medications that are delivered directly into the bloodstream. IV sedation requires more preparation and care after the appointment. For example, because the drugs stay in your system for several hours, it is not safe to try to drive or operate heavy machinery after the treatment.
What to Expect During Your Sedation Dentistry Consultation
When you have your first visit with Dr. Frank Straus, explain the troubles you’ve had in the past and he will help you decide which type of sedation you would like to try. Your oral health and medical history will need to be discussed, and he will likely need to conduct a cursory oral exam. If it’s been a while since your last appointment, you will probably need a deep cleaning and may need additional treatments for demineralized enamel or tooth decay. Dr. Straus will explain the details of each level of sedation, including the medications used, physical after-effects and cost. Ultimately the choice will be yours.
If you’ve had painful appointments in the past, we guarantee you’ll have a better time at the dentist from now onward. At Advanced Dental Care of Richmond, we specialize in painless dentistry, so your comfort and satisfaction always come first!
Call us at 804-741-4177 to set up an appointment with Dr. Straus or Dr. Han. We are located on John Rolfe Parkway and have office hours Monday through Friday. Painless dentistry is in reach!