Sedation dentistry can help extremely fearful patients overcome their anxiety and access the dental care that is so important to maintaining oral health. If fear has kept you out of the dentist’s chair for routine care, consider how beneficial sedation dentistry can be.
For some patients, sedation dentistry is an unfamiliar concept. Here are answers to some of the most common questions our patients have about sedation dentistry.
How does sedation dentistry work?
With sedation dentistry, the dentist administers an anti-anxiety medication, often from a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Patients can take the drugs orally in pill form or they can choose gaseous nitrous oxide. The medication helps the patient achieve a state of deep relaxation.
Patients do feel like they are in a sleep-like state while under the effects of the sedatives, but they actually remain conscious and able to respond to the dentist’s commands. Sedation dentistry patients generally have no memory of the procedure after the fact.
Depending on the delivery method, the dentist may give patients certain instructions in advance of the appointment. For example, patients who choose oral sedation will need to take the medication far enough in advance of the appointment for the drug to have the desired effect.
Although the sedatives wear off more quickly than stronger anesthetic medications, it’s important to know that you will not be fully alert by the end of the appointment. Therefore, all patients who choose sedation should arrange for a responsible adult to escort them home after the appointment.
Who can benefit from sedation dentistry?
Most patients can benefit from sedation, especially people with dental phobia. Your dentist will review your medical history to determine if any health conditions could present a problem with the sedation.
Patients facing time-consuming, complex dental treatments and procedures may also want to consider sedation dentistry, as this method allows them to tolerate longer treatment sessions.
Many parents also choose sedation dentistry for children, especially those with difficulty sitting still during the dental treatment. This can be an option, although the dentist will determine any particular risk factors that would contraindicate sedation for your child.
Are there any sedation dentistry side effects?
In comparison with general anesthesia, which is often considered as an alternative, sedation dentistry tends to be safer. The airway is not compromised while the patient is under sedation and the effects of sedation are reversed more quickly than those of general anesthesia.
Side effects of sedation dentistry are minimal and rare. They may include dry mouth, nausea and allergic reactions, among others. Your dentist will discuss possible sedation dentistry side effects, as well as any risks associated with sedation dentistry, in advance of the treatment.
How much does sedation dentistry cost?
Unfortunately, there is no simple or single answer to this question. Each patient’s case is different. The sedation dentistry cost may vary in different patient scenarios, depending on the delivery method and other factors.
To learn more about the sedation dentistry options available at our practice, call our office to speak with one of our helpful, professional staff members. Keep in mind that your comfort is our priority, and we want to help you preserve your oral health.
Click the links below to learn more about the prosthodontic services we provide.
- Dentures (Complete, Partial, Palateless, Precision-Attached, Snap-On, Lock-On and Soft Lined.)
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
- Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
- Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist advises you to
- Make sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to the pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy, also. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup. A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
DENTAL IMPLANT PLACEMENT AND RESTORATION
Imagine visiting your dentist in the morning, having a mini-implant system placed in just a few hours, and then enjoying lunch with a friend at your favorite restaurant. During your relaxing lunch, you eat comfortably, laugh, and talk with confidence as your new dentures are securely and firmly held in place.
The mini implant system provides greater denture stability for patients who can’t withstand conventional implant surgery, who don’t have enough bone to allow for full-sized implants, or who are in the process of changing from one prosthetic system to another. The mini implant system consists of a miniature titanium implant that functions as a prosthetic tooth root and a retaining fixture installed into the base of your denture. When in place, the denture gently rests on the gum, and the implant fixtures allow for tiny movements, while withstanding natural lifting forces. Mini implant placement is a one-step procedure that involves minimally invasive surgery and no sutures. Healing time is shorter than typical denture placement procedures.
To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance. Although dentists will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted if the following occurs:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Infection or abscess
- Orthodontic correction
- Malpositioned teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
- Impacted teeth
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialist called an oral surgeon.
A certain amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected following an extraction, which can be minimized with a pain killer and ice packs applied to the face for 15 minutes at a time. After a routine extraction, discomfort should lessen within three days to two weeks. If you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever, call our office immediately.
NIGHTGUARDS / MOUTHGUARDS
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Nightguards are also recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles for your guard. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take only between 25 and 30 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. A routine dental cleaning should include scaling, root planing and polishing.
Scaling: This is the process of removing plaque and tartar from all tooth surfaces in a variety of methods, depending on the amount of plaque and tartar.
Dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has led to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time. To achieve best results, both electric and manual scaling methods are combined for dental cleanings.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
Complete Dentures - This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned into a patients mouth to take the place of where the natural teeth used to be. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
Partial Dentures - A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using the adjacent teeth for support. This fills the space created by missing teeth, as well as creates a support for remaining teeth to prevent shifting.
Palateless Dentures - are upper dentures without a palate, which can improve comfort and sense of taste. Palateless dentures are any upper denture that has no plate covering the upper palate, including dental implants, natural tooth-retained overdentures, fixed/removable restorations, or even a conventional palateless denture with a horseshoe shaped frame. This type of denture is often recommended for patients with a highly sensitive gag reflex who have trouble adjusting to the palate in a conventional denture.
Precision-Attached Dentures - have precision attachments to retain the dentures, possibly in combination with a milled titanium bar. This type of overdenture can be retained by natural teeth or dental implants, depending on your situation. At Marshall Denture Clinic, we call these "snap-on dentures," and they are typically removable.
Functionally-Impressed Dentures - Have you ever wished your denture could be more comfortable or fit more snugly and precisely? With functional impressions, a denture can now fit your mouth with unprecedented accuracy.
We first custom-fabricate a denture to our patient's bite. Then, we place a highly flowable impression material within the denture. When the patient chews, speaks, or carries out normal functions, the muscle attachments and soft tissues of the mouth mold the denture into a precise functional impression. This impression technique (sometimes called the Pound denture technique or the Turbyfil denture technique), combines natural oral function with the impression-taking process so Dr. Parker gets the most accurate and detailed impression for fitting your dentures. We will reline your dentures using hard acrylic or a soft liner using the functional impression we've made, and the result is a much more comfortable and exact-fitting denture.
Over Dentures (Snap-On) - Overdentures are any type of dentures, either full or partial, that fit over natural teeth or dental implants. Attachments are placed on the natural teeth or implants and the overdenture becomes a precision-attached prosthetic. A popular type of overdenture is what we call "snap-on dentures," which uses natural tooth and/or dental implants as the foundation for the attachment, either alone or in combination with a milled titanium bar.
Among the benefits of choosing overdentures is the deterrence of bone loss, since dental implants will actually maintain jawbone integrity, a lifelike look and feel, and improved speech and chewing function when compared with other dentures.
Lock-On Dentures - Also known as the "All-On-4" technique, this type of prosthesis is a fixed/removable alternative to conventional dentures. A precision-attached denture hybrid, lock-on dentures attach the dental restoration to implants placed in the upper or lower jaw. Depending on what is best for an individual patient, Dr. Parker may use a milled titanium bar with denture teeth to secure the denture, or he may use individual ceramic crowns.
Dentures are traditionally held in place by adhesive (bottom) or natural suction (top). But over time, ridges on the gums wear down from constant pressure, and the resulting smooth gums make dentures more inclined to slip, slide, or wobble. If you’d like a solid solution for denture stabilization, consider Lock-on dentures, a dental implant procedure by NobelBiocare.
By having four dental implant posts placed in your jaw, Dr. Parker can create a foundation that will hold your denture securely. In some cases, dentures can be retrofitted with implant snaps, but most often, a custom denture is necesssary. This denture will snap, or "lock on" to the four implants. Lock-on denture patients enjoy a higher quality of life, improved dietary possibilities, and greater confidence in social situations.
Soft Lined Dentures - Unlike traditional hard-lined dentures, soft lined dentures are the dentures we produce from using the functional impression technique. Once we have the precise information gleaned from that impression technique, we customize your denture with the soft reline material. Dr. Parker highly recommends this type of denture for patients with significant jaw atrophy. These types of dentures are much more stable and comfortable than those with hard liners.
TMJ stands for temporal-mandibular joint. Temporal, as in temple area of skull; mandibular as in mandible, or lower jaw; joint as in it's where the head and jaw meet. Problems in this joint may be caused by a misalignment of the teeth, trauma, or excess muscle tension. Aside from the two bones that meet there, cartilage buffers them and five muscles are involved in the area. If something goes wrong a good deal of trouble can result.
Problems in this area can cause:
- Trouble/soreness in opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Soreness in the area, sometimes extending to the face
Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite, filling gaps between teeth, etc. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Sometimes a plastic mouthpiece is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and taken to extremes, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling also helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best for you, depending on the extent of repair, where in your mouth the filling is needed, and cost. Each of the filling materials is briefly explained below:
- Gold fillings are custom made in a laboratory and then cemented into place. While gold fillings are often the most expensive choice, many consider it the best filling material. Gold inlays are well-tolerated by gum tissues and may last more than 20 years.
- Amalgam (silver) fillings are a more inexpensive choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
- Composite (plastic) resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years. They may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.
- Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same cost as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth are the last molars, or "third molars" that develop on each side of the jaws. Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so you are asleep during the procedure.
After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, you may be asked to bite down softly on a piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes after you leave the office, to limit any bleeding that may occur. Some pain and swelling may occur but it will normally go away after a few days; however, you should call your dentist if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.
The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are esthetically pleasing.
The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
SEDATION DENTISTRY FOR DENTAL ANXIETY
Among the most common phobias, visiting the dentist causes many people severe anxiety and stress. Often, fearful patients forego necessary dental care to avoid a visit to their dentist. If you find yourself feeling panicky at the thought of having your teeth worked on, you should know that a safe, comfortable relaxation method exists. Oral sedation alleviates anxiety, so you can face dental appointments with confidence. Feel free to ask our team about oral sedation or nitrous oxide at your appointment.
Depending on the extent of the anxiety or phobia, varying degrees of dental sedation can be utilized as described below.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous Oxide sedation, also known as "laughing gas" is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable. This sedation is inhaled through a mask that allows you to breathe in the medication and induces a state of relaxation. Local anesthetic will be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged, or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown, also referred to as a cap, is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth's appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth that are cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support, hence the name. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
WHITENING INCLUDING ZOOM!
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal for most patients. Our office offers two methods of whitening: in-office whitening and tray whitening.
In-office whitening is an ideal procedure for anyone wanting immediate results. Because the entire procedure takes place in our office in about an hour, it is the perfect choice for busy individuals. In this process, a protective gel is applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue. A special light-activated gel is then applied to your teeth and a special light or laser is used to enhance the action of the agent. Finally, we take impressions of your teeth to create custom trays for at home touch-up, and give you instructions for keeping your smile bright. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for years.
Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening treatment you can use while in the comfort of your own home to gradually whiten teeth. We will first take an impression of your teeth to create a customized clear tray that you will wear to whiten your teeth. Within a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays. The whitening gel trays should be worn 30-60 minutes up to twice a day. At the end of this period, you will see maximum whitening results that are nothing short of dazzling. Occasional treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile.
PERIODONTAL (GUM) TREATMENT
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one's teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these may be a sign of a problem. With proper gum treatments, however, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to have it treated at the first sign of a problem.