Sedation dentistry: Options for Nanaimo patients who suffer from anxiety

Did you know that Wellington Dental Clinic here in Nanaimo offers sedation dentistry? When to have a conversation with your family dentist about sedation dentistry.

As a family dental practice, we deal with a lot of patients of all ages who are anxious about their visit. Many patients even put off visits as long as they can due to anxiety about pain or needles; unfortunately, this begets a vicious cycle. When regular visits aren’t being maintained, cavities and other potential problems can go undetected and be left to worsen. Then, when the patient is forced to come in due to pain or infection, the treatment is more complicated and uncomfortable, thus giving the patient another reason to hate going to the dentist! So first and foremost, for patients with or without anxiety, the best course of action to ensure the least amount of pain possible is actually to maintain regular visits every six months. That gives us an opportunity to give the patient’s teeth a thorough cleaning and nip any potential problems in the bud early.

However, we recognize that some patients have real fears and anxieties about dental procedures. We do the best we can to educate the patient on all procedures and allay any fears or questions that way come up, but we understand that this is not always enough. It’s our goal to give our patients the most positive possible experience at our dental office. For that reason we have a number of different anxiety relief options available. One option is an oral dose of a benzodiazepine medication such as Ativan. This medication will be administered in office prior to your appointment. For many patients this is enough to help them relax. Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas”, is another option. It is inhaled through a nose hood that the dentist will provide. The nitrous oxide can numb pain and provide a feeling of relaxation and elevated mood (hence the nickname laughing gas).

Sleep dentistry is the next option if these methods aren’t enough for the patient or if the patient has had adverse reactions to these methods. The patient is actually conscious and able to respond to directions if needed, but the senses are dulled, anxiety is dramatically reduced, and the patient typically emerges with no memory of the procedure. This can provide great relief to anxious or pain sensitive patients and allow them to have a more pleasant experience at the dentist. Of course, the patient would have to arrange a safe ride home after the treatment.

If you are a patient who suffers from anxiety, please don’t put off your visits. Schedule an appointment with your family dentist here at Wellington Dental Clinic in Nanaimo, and know that your concerns will be heard with compassion and that we will work with you to come up with a treatment plan tailored to your needs.