Sedation Dentistry Missoula, MT

For many people, the mere thought of going to the dentist triggers feelings of anxiety and fear. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America estimates that around 15 percent of Americans – over 45 million people – suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia and it is probable that many more not included in this figure would identify themselves as experiencing dental fear or anxiety.

The causes of dental anxiety and phobia can range from a fear of pain, fear of needles or doctors to past experiences of stress and discomfort. An individual’s predisposition to anxiety can also play a key role.

Dental Fear, Dental Phobia or Dental Anxiety?

Though the phrases dental anxiety, dental fear and dental phobia are often used interchangeably to describe a range of symptoms and reactions to dental practices in general, important distinctions can be drawn between them, which can be useful in finding effective dental treatment options.

Anxiety refers to the sense of unease associated with the unknown. If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may find that working with a dentist who is sensitive to your needs and communicates with you to create a comfortable atmosphere can greatly improve your experience and help you to overcome your anxiety.

A phobia is an intense and possibly irrational reaction to a specific situation or object that is perceived as threatening. If you suffer from dental phobia you may react to the sound of a drill, the expectation of pain or another aspect of dentistry for which you have a strong dislike or fear.

Overcoming dental phobias, especially if they are particularly intense, can be more complicated than dealing with anxieties and may require professional assistance. Dental fear is the term often used for a more mild form of dental phobia.

What is Oral sedation dentistry

Oral sedation dentistry is a medical procedure involving the administration of oral sedative drugs, generally to facilitate a dental procedure and reduce patients fear and anxiety related to the experience. Oral sedation is one of the available methods of conscious sedation dentistry, along with inhalation sedation (nitrous oxide). Drugs which can be used for sedation include diazepam, triazolam, zaleplon, lorazepam, and hydroxyzine.

 

General Anesthesia, Generally Speaking

Though the majority of dental procedures can be performed without its use, general anesthesia has been an important part of the world of dentistry since the 1840s. There are also similarities between medical and dental general anesthesia — like its medical counterpart, the use of this anesthetic method in dentistry will render you totally unconscious and unable to feel pain during dental surgery.

In this unconscious state, there is also an absence of fear and anxiety; it’s for this last reason, in fact, that general anesthesia is sometimes used not only for complex dental treatment, but is also occasionally recommended for children and adults who experience acute dental anxiety.

Going Under and Waking Up

It’s important to remember that general anesthesia is not the name of the drug that’s being administered. Instead, general anesthesia differentiates itself from local anesthesia in that it numbs the body and puts the mind to sleep. Most commonly given by means of an injection or as an inhalant, general anesthesia describes a mixture of potent drugs that are used to induce a sleep-like state in those to whom it’s given.

If you’re planning to “go under,” keep in mind that the effects of general anesthesia may take several hours to wear off. Plan ahead: Dentists typically require a patient to arrange for a ride home and a few hours of aftercare following procedures in which general anesthesia is used. If you aren’t able to make appropriate ride-accommodations or don’t have a companion to stay with you at your home for a few hours following your surgical procedure, your dentist may recommend a longer stay at the office to ensure complete recuperation from the anesthetics used.

Along with General Anesthesia sedation there are also different “levels” of sedation available to you in our office. There is nitrous oxide analgesia and oral sedation or nitrous oxide in combination with oral sedation – basically we can tailor the anesthesia to your need or desire. These modalities are administered and monitored by Dr. Kinnee or an Anesthesiologist in the safety and comfort of our office environment.

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. Kinnee 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. Kinnee 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 Missoula General Dentistry, 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. Kinnee meets these challenges with sedation dentistry for the disabled. She is skilled in anesthesia for special-needs patients, and can ease the fear associated with out-of-control oral hygiene with one visit.

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 refluxes 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 Missoula General Dentistry, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears. Not only will our staff treat you with delicacy and care, but IV sedation will allow you to experience dentistry in a whole new way. While engaging in a pleasant sleeplike experience, Dr. Kinnee will be hard at work making sure you “wake up” with the results you desire.