3 people afraid of the dentist

Sedation Dentistry

happy smiling young coupleDentistry is scary for some. We Understand!

Our dentists and staff at Great Hill Dental Partners hold your safety and comfort as our primary concerns. If you are an anxious patient, we will listen closely to your concerns and work with you to provide a conscious sedation option that will make your treatment much more comfortable and relaxed, while you remain safely conscious.

We understand that many patients feel anxious about dental and oral surgical procedures.  Anxious patients appreciate the availability of sedation options to reduce their anxiety and enhance their comfort.  At the same time, many patients express equal concern about sedation itself because they assume that being sedated for their procedure involves being unconscious for the visit.  At Great Hill Dental Partners we are pleased to be able to fully address both concerns with our conscious sedation program.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

In this technique, you breathe nitrous oxide gas mixed with oxygen through a small mask on your nose in a fail-safe system that never allows the amount of oxygen to go below a safe level.  Monitoring is done throughout the procedure to ensure this remains the case.  The sedation effect mostly wears off by the end of the procedure. Nevertheless it is important to have a ride home after the procedure.

Oral Conscious Sedation

In this technique, your dentist or oral surgeon would prescribe a sedative medication to be taken just prior to your visit. The specific medication chosen would be the result of a thoughtful discussion between you and your dentist or oral surgeon taking your medical history and sedation needs into account. In some cases, nitrous oxide sedation, as above, is used in combination with the oral sedation. Monitoring is maintained throughout. The sedation effect of the oral sedation medication usually lasts for some period of time after the procedure, so it is required to have a ride to and form the office with an adult escort you arrange.

Intravenous (“IV”) Sedation

In this technique used by our oral surgeons for procedures such as extractions and the removal of impacted “wisdom teeth,” your oral surgeon would administer a sedation medication intravenously through an intravenous line. We commonly use Versed (generic name midazolam).  Nitrous oxide is usually used in combination.  That combination allows lower doses of the intravenous medication to produce a desired sedative effect than would be possible if the intravenous medication were used alone.  Using the lowest dose of a sedation medication possible to produce comfortable sedation is, in our opinion, a safety advantage. Monitoring is maintained throughout.  The sedation effect from intravenous sedation usually lasts for some period of time after the visit, often as long as 24 hours and sometimes a bit more. It is required for you to have an escort, whom you have arranged, arrive with you for the appointment and take you home after a period of monitored recovery in the office.  It is also very important for you to have nothing to eat or drink for at least six hours before an intravenous sedation.

If you’d like to know more about Sedation Dentistry and your options, please use this handy form and request an appojntment or just ask your questions – we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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Our sedation program is based at our One Brigham Circle office in Boston, where we are able to offer convenient free parking for sedation patients and their escorts who travel to us for care.  As our practice grows, it is our intention to offer sedation at our other offices as well.  In the meantime, we’ll do everything we can to make your visit to One Brigham Circle easy and convenient.

At One Brigham Circle we have a facility permit for conscious sedation, up to and including moderate intravenous conscious sedation.  This permit is granted by the Board of Registration in Dentistry of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after a careful on-site inspection of an office by the Board. All of our oral surgeons and several of our dentists at One Brigham Circle hold special sedation permits from the same licensing Board.  We maintain current certification in Basic Life Support (“CPR”), and our oral surgeons also maintain current certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.  We are very careful in our technique, yet are always fully prepared even if an emergency should occur.

Local anesthesia is always used in conjunction with the sedation option chosen.  The sedation lowers patient anxiety and helps the patient be more comfortable during the procedure.  It is the local anesthesia that numbs the area being treated in order to eliminate pain.  The local anesthesia is given after the desired sedation effect has been achieved, so anxiety about the local anesthesia injection is also accounted for.