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Sedation Dentistry

If you've felt fearful about dental treatment in the past, you are not alone. We want you to know that such feelings are not uncommon, and people of any age can experience them. We also want you to know that we can help!

Anxiolysis — sometimes referred to as "minimal sedation" — is an option we offer to help patients feel more comfortable in our care.

Anxiolysis involves taking a single pill shortly before your visit. The medications we use are measured and evaluated by pharmacists and physicians on a safety scale called the therapeutic index, where the higher the number on the scale, the better the safety rating. The sedation medications used by Drs. LaVecchia, Dr. McIntire, or Dr. Bobbio have high numbers on this index. When consulting with you about sedation, your dentist will thoroughly discuss your health history, including medications you are taking and habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking. These factors are taken into careful account, and your dentist will go through the proper preparation steps with you prior to your sedation visit.

Most patients experience little to no discomfort or remaining effects from a sedation dentistry visit. You might feel a little wobbly immediately after the treatment while the medication wears off, but your dentist will give you simple, helpful instructions for the rest of your day. Just in case, plan to have a companion drive you to and from your appointment.

Minimal Sedation Works Well for People Who:

  • Have high levels of dental anxiety

  • Have a strong gag reflex

  • Strongly dislike the noises, smells, and tastes associated with dental treatment

  • Hate needles and shots

  • Are embarrassed about their teeth

We will closely monitor you to ensure that the sedation process is safe and goes smoothly. Thanks to minimal sedation, you can have all of the treatment you need completed in one day, and forget about having to take more time off work. If these benefits sound like what you have been looking for, please call us to learn more! We are here to help you get the dental care you need, just the way you need it.

Nitrous Oxide or "Laughing Gas"

We offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help patients of all ages relax. We want you to get the dental treatment you need and feel at ease during the process.

Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, colorless blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide gases that creates feelings of well-being and tranquility when inhaled. Some patients even describe a sense of floating or giddiness, which is how it earned the nickname "laughing gas." Nitrous oxide is administered through a little cone that sits on your nose, and Dr. LaVecchia has special equipment to monitor the proportion of nitrous oxide released and to adjust the flow rate to the patient. The equipment is regularly checked and calibrated, and the gas is administered by specially trained staff.

This safe and easy treatment helps many people feel comfortable during treatment, especially children and adolescents who experience dental anxiety. It has been found helpful if a patient has a gag reflex that interferes with dental treatment, and nitrous oxide can also make dental visits easier for patients with mental or physical impairments.

Normal breathing of pure oxygen for several minutes after treatment completely reverses the effects of nitrous oxide, so you will feel like yourself and be able to resume your regular daily activities.

Advantages of Nitrous Oxide:

  • Nitrous oxide is probably the safest of all anti-anxiety agents used in dentistry

  • It has very few side effects or risks

  • Nitrous oxide is non-addictive and patients remain fully conscious during treatment

  • Administration of nitrous oxide is painless, involving no more than a mask over the nose

  • Pleasant feelings of calmness are felt almost immediately

  • After treatment, the effects of nitrous oxide are quickly reversed

Don't let dental anxiety get the best of your healthy smile! Contact our Arlington dental office today to discover how sedation dentistry can completely transform your dental visits.

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