Feel Comfortable and Relaxed During Dental Procedures

We know that many people have anxiety with dental procedures, some to the point where they avoid visiting the dentist outright, even when they have a toothache. If you have any anxiety related to dental visits then sedation dentistry might be the answer.

We are excited to announce that we now offer intravenous (IV) sedation dentistry at VCCID. For over 25 years, we have been offering other sedation techniques and this now brings another option to our in-office services.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is when a dentist administers a medication before or during a dental procedure to help them relax or sleep. There are many levels or degrees of sedation and is categorized into mild, moderate and deep. Deep sedation is typically what occurs during general anaesthesia, and is usually done in hospital settings for complex and/or invasive procedures.

Mild sedation will help a person be relaxed, yet be completely awake and able to recall the entire appointment. With moderate sedation, patients often sleep throughout the procedure and do not recall the events of the appointment. Although patients sleep, this is not as deep as occurs with general anaesthetics.

The type of sedation that is suitable depends on each individual patient. Some factors are the person’s’ level of anxiety, the type of procedure being done, the duration of the procedure and overall health.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

These are the types of sedatives that dentists commonly administer. We offer all of the following services in office, other than general anaesthesia which needs to be done in a private anaesthesia clinic:

    • Nitrous oxide: This is commonly used for shorter procedures and for those with minimal anxiety. Nitrous oxide is better known as “laughing gas” — a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide is breathed through a small nasal mask during the procedure. This will not put one to sleep but to feel very relaxed. I often use the analogy of having a glass or two of wine…a person is completely awake but very relaxed. Time goes by much quicker and worries seem to fade away. For people who have a strong gag reflex, this is a very useful tool to reduce one’s gag reflex allowing the dentist to complete dental work comfortably. It wears off quickly and is the only sedation where you might be able to drive yourself home directly after the procedure.
    • Oral sedatives: Oral sedatives may be the easiest form of sedation to administer, as you simply ingest them about an hour before your appointment. They can be used in both short and long dental appointments. Depending on the type and dosage of medication they may make you feel relaxed but awake (yet more so than nitrous oxide) or they may cause you to completely fall asleep and have little to no recollection of the procedure. With this level of sedation, you won’t be able to drive yourself home since they can take several hours for all the drowsiness to fully wear off.
    • Intravenous sedatives: Intravenous, or IV, sedatives are similar to oral sedatives in the amount of sedation they can produce. The difference is it is much easier to iterate the level of sedation to the desired result, and it is easier to administer more medication as needed for longer procedures. In some cases, a combination of different medications can be given to improve the level of sedation.
    • General anesthetics (GA’s): As mentioned above, this is the deepest type of sedation one can have. Although we do offer GA’s for our patients, we have to use the services of a private anaesthesia clinic where a licensed anesthetist will administer the sedation while we do the dental services. This is usually done in cases of special needs patients or others who for health or procedural reasons are not suitable to be treated in office with milder forms of sedation.

What Are the Benefits?

If you’re avoiding dental work because of anxiety, sedation dentistry is a great option. Many times, I have had patients tell me they are actually embarrassed to admit their fears, but rest assured there are many who fall into this category.

Unfortunately for many, they “overcome” their fear by simply avoiding going to the dentist. Although this may be ok for a while, eventually they end up with a cavity, pain and or infection and potentially lose teeth unnecessarily.

In the past, I have been able to treat many patients with extreme anxiety, often brought about by bad dental experiences from the past. Once we were able to complete major work using sedation, many have been able to continue with check-ups and minor work (without sedation) knowing that all the big work was completed. This has helped our patients to gain a new level of trust and confidence in today’s level and quality of dental services.

Is it safe?

Sedative dentistry is very safe;  we take steps to determine your past and current health, medications etc and tailor that to the method of sedation best suited for your needs. Although there are potential risks with any procedure, the incidence is extremely low when appropriate precautions are taken. In general the milder the sedation, the lower the risks. We will review with you any and all potential risks prior to proceeding with treatment.

Meet Dr. Norman Wong – Our IV Sedation administrator

Dr. Norman Wong graduated from UBC Dentistry in 1988. Dr. Wong maintained a general practice in the lower mainland from 1990 to 2009. Over time, he chose to direct his attention towards studying advanced programs in Orthodontics, Periodontics, and Surgery. He also continued his advanced education to include intravenous conscious sedation, laser therapy, and implants. Dr. Wong is passionate about supporting the overall physical health and well-being of his patients.

Find Out More Today!

Contact us to find out whether or not sedation dentistry is a good option for you. It is used very commonly for many different purposes, from minor procedures to extensive oral surgery and is a great option for adults and children alike.