Sedation for Dentistry
Local anesthetic (i.e.- Novocaine) has allowed us to eliminate most pain but many patients experience anxiety and fear during dental work. This can heighten one’s awareness of pain so sedation can make your dental visit much easier. We offer different levels of sedation (usually combined with local anesthetic). Please ask about our sedation options.
Nitrous Oxide Gas
Nitrous Oxide has a sedative and anti-anxiety effect sometimes described as “floating.” It does not put you to sleep and you are aware of what is going on but the levels of sedation can be regulated to your comfort level. It works very well with children but some adults find it disappointing and not strong enough. You should eat a light breakfast before using Nitrous Oxide and it would also be nice to get a ride home since you may feel a bit woozy afterwards.
We like to use Halcion or Valium. You usually take one pill the night before for a good night’s rest and one pill one hour before your dental visit. These drugs work very well in reducing anxiety. Dr. Alvarenga finds that he uses less local anesthetic when a patient takes an oral sedative. Oral sedation does not put you to sleep and you are aware of what is going on. You must have a ride both to and from the office after taking an oral sedative. Oral sedatives are sometimes combined with Nitrous Oxide for an added effect.
Conscious Sedation (AKA Intravenous Sedation or “Twilight Sedation”)
We are very proud of the fact that our office offers our patients the option of Conscious Sedation. This is what sets our office apart from most other dental practices.
Intravenous Sedation helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. It’s similar to the anesthesia provided during same-day surgery in a hospital. Your treatment can be completed for you under intravenous sedation. Conscious Sedation will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep – a “twilight sleep”.
If you choose the option of intravenous sedation your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by Dr. Alvarenga, therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same-day surgical facility. Dr. Alvarenga is trained and licensed in the use of sedation. He is also trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and in treating medical emergencies in the dental office.
Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and may not sleep at all.
The goal of Conscious sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. With Conscious Sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. IV sedation is very safe!
Sedation dentistry is also a great option for the elderly, the disabled, or simply- the fearful!
Sedation Dentistry for the Elderly
As we age, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of our daily lives. To lead full and active lives, we need our teeth and gums. They allow us enjoy food, support speech and good conversation, and facilitate digestion. Dr. Alvarenga is dedicated to treating elderly patients with care and commitment to comfort and health.
Elderly patients as a group tend to avoid dental visits for a variety of reasons, including: more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once their oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment further keep these patients away from the dentist.
For elderly patients, embarrassed or fearful of their current oral state, sedation dentistry provides the opportunity for Dr. Alvarenga to treat these conditions while the patient remains relaxed and unaware, until “awaking” to an improved oral state!
Sedation Dentistry for the Disabled
It may be especially difficult for people with disabilities to obtain access to proper dental care. They must find a dentist who is skilled and compassionate, and who can provide services for which some dentists may not be qualified. At Dr. Alvarenga‘s we provide the expertise, state-of-the-art-equipment, and dedication to assisting special-needs patients necessary to ensuring great oral care for our patients.
Disabled patients may face added challenges in maintaining their oral health. Their disability may make it difficult to brush or floss regularly; they may also suffer a severe gag reflux, or dry mouth as a result of medication. Dr. Alvarenga meets these challenges with sedation dentistry for the disabled.
Sedation Dentistry for the Fearful
Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people. Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles or drills, and severe gag reflexes are just some of the reasons people feel extreme anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist.
If you suffer from dental phobia- fear no more! At Dr. Alvarenga‘s, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears. Not only will our staff treat you with delicacy and care, but Conscious Sedation will allow you to experience dentistry in a whole new way. While engaging in a pleasant sleep-like experience, Dr. Alvarenga will be hard at work making sure you “wake up” with the results you desire.