Sedation Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ

Pain-Free, Anxiety-Free, Sedation Dentistry at Scottsdale Dental & Facial Aesthetics

At Scottsdale Dental and Facial Aesthetics, we know how common it is to feel at least a little bit of dental anxiety when you come in for an appointment — be it a routine exam or a surgical procedure. 

In fact, it’s estimated that 36% of the population is affected by dental anxiety of some kind, with 12% having an extreme fear of the dentist. Those are some big numbers! 

Don’t worry! We don’t take your fear of dental procedures personally. We just try to provide a comforting, relaxing, supportive environment for every one of our patients so they can receive the treatment they need with as little anxiety and discomfort as possible. One of the ways we do that is through sedation dentistry. 

If you need any kind of dental procedure but you feel that you’re unable to receive it because of your fear of the dentist, sedation dentistry may be the solution you’re looking for. 

Read on to learn how this safe and simple method of helping patients relax can help you save your smile.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZSedation dentistry is the name for various methods of reducing anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures with the help of medication. 

Depending on your particular needs, the form of sedation dentistry you might receive during your procedure can range from minimal sedation to deep sedation and possibly to general anesthesia in rare cases involving complex procedures.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

If you have any concerns regarding the safety of sedation dentistry practices, you’ll be happy to know that they are largely safe if an experienced dentist is administering them. 

Dr. Todd Shatkin and the Scottsdale Dental and Facial Aesthetics team have over 30 years of experience with sedation dentistry, so rest assured that you’re in good hands! 

However, despite its overall safety, there are still some risks involved in sedation dentistry. We will go over those risks with you when you sit down with us to plan out your upcoming procedure. During this meeting, we’ll determine whether you are a good candidate for whatever level of sedation you might need.

How Old Do You Need to Be for Sedation Dentistry?

There’s not necessarily an age minimum or maximum for who can and cannot use sedation dentistry, but in cases of particularly young or particularly old patients, there is an elevated risk of adverse effects, so greater caution must be exercised. 

The Scottsdale Dental and Facial Aesthetics team will be able to assess any particular case involving younger or older patients to determine whether sedation dentistry is safe for them.

Levels of Sedation Dentistry

As we mentioned previously, we may employ a few different levels of sedation dentistry during your next dental procedure. We’ve listed them all below, along with a brief description of what they entail.

Minimal Sedation

If you’ve ever received laughing gas at the dentist, you’ve experienced minimal sedation. This level of sedation leaves the patient fully conscious but in a far more relaxed state. Sometimes a pill may be administered rather than laughing gas during a procedure requiring minimal sedation.

Moderate Sedation

This level of sedation reduces the level of consciousness in the patient, but not so much that they’ll need breathing assistance or lose their ability to respond to verbal commands. Moderate sedation is typically administered through an IV or with oral medication.

Deep Sedation

During deep sedation, the patient remains conscious but may require breathing assistance, and they will not be able to respond to verbal commands. This level of sedation is not commonly used, but you may have the option of choosing it for a significant surgical procedure.

General Anesthesia

It’s unlikely that you will require general anesthesia for your upcoming dental procedure unless it involves complex surgery. During this level of sedation, the patient is fully unconscious and will require breathing assistance.

Different Kinds of Sedatives

Each level of sedation dentistry is associated with one or two different types of sedatives. In total, there are four. We’ve listed these sedatives below, along with some useful information about each. 

Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, you’re most likely to receive this type of sedative during a simple, non-invasive dental procedure. You’ll feel calm and relaxed, and you’ll most likely be in a great mood when under this sedative, which is inhaled through a mask.

Oral Sedatives

Otherwise known as enteral sedation, oral sedatives can be administered as both minimal and moderate forms of sedation dentistry. Oral sedatives are most often some form of anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax or Valium.

Intravenous Sedatives

IV sedatives are used to reach a deeper level of sedation. They are administered directly into the bloodstream through a vein.  

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia can be administered intravenously or inhaled in the form of a gas. These sedatives result in total unconsciousness and are only used for significant procedures, which are very uncommon. 

The most commonly administered sedatives are nitrous oxide and enteral sedation medications, so you’ll likely be receiving one of those during your next dental procedure. 

If you have any trepidation or you’d like to know more about any of these sedatives, make sure to ask us about them. We’re confident that we’ll be able to assure you of both the safety and the efficacy of each method.

Am I a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

You will likely be a great candidate for sedation dentistry if you’re in good overall health. But there are certain cases in which sedation may prove even more useful. Some of those cases are listed below. 

  • Significant fear of the dentist
  • Stronger than usual gag reflex
  • Particularly sensitive teeth
  • Jaw issues
  • Neck or back issues 

If you think that sedation dentistry might be a good option for you during your upcoming dental procedure, reach out to us today to find out whether you’d be a good candidate.

Who Shouldn’t Use Sedation Dentistry?

While sedation dentistry is largely safe and incredibly effective for many, certain people may not be ideal candidates. Most often, this is due to some sort of medical condition that may interact with the sedatives in a dangerous way. Those conditions are listed below. 

  • Diabetes
  • Resistance to medications
  • Sedative allergies
  • Respiratory illness
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea

Remember, having one of these conditions doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t take advantage of sedation dentistry. They simply elevate the odds of adverse effects. Speak with us today to learn more about your options. 

If you are pregnant, that may preclude you from using certain kinds of sedation dentistry, at least up until your second trimester. This is because certain sedatives may have ill effects on your child’s development. 

If you’d like to know more, reach out to us today, and we can help determine whether you’d be able to receive sedation while pregnant.

Interested in Sedation Dentistry?

Dr. Todd Shatkin and the Scottsdale Dental and Facial Aesthetics team have over 30 years of experience helping patients with dental anxiety receive the care they need. Why suffer needless stress during a dental procedure when you could be relaxed instead?

We’d be happy to speak with you about the possibility of using sedation dentistry during your next procedure, so give us a call today!