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Root canal: Surgical Center, insurance plans ease the way

Root canal: Surgical Center, insurance plans ease the way

 With nine specialists on staff and many insurance options, having a root canal performed at Alliance Surgical Center is a painless and efficient way to save your teeth.

 Dr. Scott Howell, a Harvard-trained endodontist with more than two years of residency in root canal procedures, works with our professional anesthesiologists at Alliance Surgical Center.  

 Although American endodontists and dentists do more than 15 million root canal procedures every year, myths persist about them being painful and causing infections in the rest of the body, according to the American Association of Endocrinologists. These are based on almost 100-year-old research, which recommended teeth be extracted and not saved.

 Rather than spreading myths, the association provides these facts: Nothing can sufficiently replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid some foods. Keeping your own teeth is vital so you can keep consuming the wide variety of foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. 

 If your dentist recommends pulling a tooth, ask whether root canal treatment is possible.

 A trained endodontist, using the correct restoration methods, can cost effectively treat teeth with damaged pulp. A root canal is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant, which may require more office visits to treat adjacent teeth, gums and other tissues.

 Endodontic treatment also has more than a 90-percent chance of success. Many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.

 A patient should consider root canal as an option, even if he or she lacks the money for treatment. Most patients now have more insurance plans to choose from than ever before.

The Signature Smiles office accepts non-managed care, indemnity (traditional) and PPO out-of-network insurance plans. The PPO dentists are not part of any managed care network, including HMOs and DMHOs. 

 There’s no need to fill out PPO dental benefits forms; the office accounting staff takes care of that. 

 Your dental insurance policy, however, is an agreement between you and your PPO insurance company. PPO dental insurance helps make some treatments more affordable. Some PPO dental insurance benefits include braces.  

 The in-network short list includes:

  • Aetna
  • Ameritas
  • Anthem

Sensitive Teeth? What Foods to Avoid

Sensitive Teeth? What Foods to Avoid

 

Do you have sensitive teeth? Even if they’re sensitive from wearing braces, Invisalign or using teeth whitening products, there are certain foods you can avoid so your teeth won’t bother you as much. Here are some to consider:

Acidic foods

Acid in foods is known to cause sensitivity because it can take some of the enamel off your teeth. There’s a surprising number of foods containing acid. That might include citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Tomatoes are also highly acidic, and found in a number of dishes, like pasta sauce. Other fruits like kiwi and plums have acid, as do pickles, which are brined in vinegar.

Ketchup and mustard

When you think about it, ketchup is a no-brainer, because it contains tomatoes and vinegar, two acidic items that don’t go well together with sensitive teeth. Unfortunately, mustard is also made with vinegar, and can therefore cause sensitivity.

Soda   

Have you seen the experiments where soda eats away at something, whether it’s a nail, a penny or yes, a baby tooth? Soda isn’t good for your teeth. Though it’s sweet, it also has phosphoric acid in it, which is the chemical that causes the metal to oxidize

Juice

Whole fruits like the citrus mentioned earlier can cause tooth sensitivity. Juice can be even worse because it’s a liquid, which means it has an easier time washing around the tooth.

Hot liquids

You may want to avoid hot coffee or tea if your teeth are sensitive. The same goes for soup. If you really want the drink coffee or tea, or consume soup, let it cool a bit, or sip it through a straw. It may look and feel silly, but your teeth will thank you.

Cold things

Whether it’s ice cream, frozen yogurt or ice water, cold things have an equally uncomfortable feeling in your mouth if your teeth are sensitive.

Chewable vitamins

While vitamins can help keep you strong, chewing them isn’t so good for your teeth. The acid in them can bother your enamel. If you want to keep taking vitamins, take the kind you can easily swallow whole, or immediately swallow some water after chewing the vitamins.

Using good oral hygiene is a way to decrease the sensitivity of your teeth. Fluoride toothpaste is a must for keeping your teeth free of plaque and giving the enamel extra protection. If your teeth continue to be sensitive even after avoiding some of these foods, it’s time to schedule a dental visit.  

What causes tooth sensitivity?

Why You Should Care About Tooth Sensitivity

If you’ve swallowed some hot coffee or cringed over cold ice cream, you probably have tooth sensitivity. It feels bad, but is it also bad for your teeth? It depends.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

There’s no single reason for tooth sensitivity, which can have many causes:

Gum disease: Also called periodontal disease, some people experience tooth sensitivity when their gums and the bone underneath are infected. The infection can damage the gum tissue, exposing the tooth’s root surfaces, making it sensitive. The good news is that by using proper oral hygiene and seeing a dentist, periodontal disease can be treated.

Braces: If you have braces or use Invisalign to straighten your teeth, you might get occasional tooth sensitivity. Why? When teeth move, the body releases certain chemicals, which can cause short-term sensitivity. Since this is likely only for a couple of days, taking ibuprofen and changing your diet to foods that don’t cause activate the pain will do the trick.

Brushing: It’s possible you’re brushing too hard or with a toothbrush whose bristles are too stiff. Using a toothbrush too vigorously on your teeth can wear down the enamel. What’s left underneath is the dentin layer, with small tubes that allow access to your tooth’s nerve endings. An easy solution is to switch to a softer brush and taking it easy with the brush strokes.

It’s important to use toothpaste with fluoride, as this helps to protect the teeth from decay, which also can lead to increased sensitivity. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, which keeps the tooth exterior healthier and stronger.

Grinding your teeth: Whether you know it or not, tooth grinding can occur when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake. Again, by wearing down your enamel and exposing the dentin, your teeth become more sensitive. If you can’t stop the grinding, sleep with a mouth guard.

Broken tooth: If you have a damaged tooth, like it’s cracked or chipped, you’ll probably notice sensitivity. A trip to the dentist will tell you how that can be remedied. It might be as easy as placing a cap on the tooth, or it might be more complicated, like a root canal or extraction. Either way, don’t delay in getting care. 

Teeth whitening: While teeth whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes and treatments can make your teeth gleam, they can also cause sensitivity. Some people are sensitive to the chemicals used in these products. If that’s the case for you, try switching products.

No matter what’s causing your sensitivity, there’s no reason not to practice good oral hygiene. This is a fancy way of telling you to brush and floss your teeth properly, and stick to a regular schedule of cleanings and checkups. 

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening 

 

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Store Bought Kits: What’s the Best Option?

 

Discolored teeth are a common issue for many Americans. A straight, pearly white smile has become the coveted norm. But while Americans spend thousands of dollars on braces, professional teeth whitening often goes overlooked as a luxury expense. While some cost-effective solutions are attractive, there are downsides to the non-professional route that should be considered.

 

 Here is a comparison of professional teeth whitening vs. store bought kits:

 

 1.      Options

 

There are several options for store bought whitening solutions. At-home whitening kits can include anything from whitening toothpaste, strips and trays to paint on whiteners. Typically these items have a whitening gel with the active ingredient peroxide. The level of peroxide varies between products; peroxide levels in store-bought kits are much lower, around 7 percent, while dentist-grade levels can top 45%.

 

 Whitening in the dentist’s office is executed with a combination of highly concentrated whitening agents that must be applied with professional supervision. Usually a special heating lamp is used to activate the agents to produce a more successful result.

 

 Note: If you do choose a store-bought kit, be sure to choose one approved by the American Dental Association. Above all, read the directions carefully.

 

 2.      Time

 

Commercially available kits can take several days to a month to start showing results. Consistency is key when using these kits, and it’s important to follow the directions. For example, Crest 3D Whitening Strips should be applied for 30 minutes each over a period of 20 days to achieve full results.

 

Professional whitening can guarantee results in a fraction of the time, typically in just 45-60 minutes. This time can also be broken up into sessions. At Signature Smiles, this 45-minute procedure is divided into separate 15-minute visits.  After the first visit, results are noticeable.

 

3.      Cost

 

At-home whitening kits range from $30-100. They are less likely to be effective as the ingredients in kits are not fully regulated and the chemical agent levels are much lower. This can lead to overuse of the product to achieve results.

 

Professional teeth whitening procedures can cost hundreds of dollars. According according to OkCopay data, which measured 16 metro areas across the nation, the average treatment price is $399.  However, the cost of a whitening procedure performed by a trained dentist and staff is much more likely to achieve safe and long-lasting results.

 

 4.      Effectiveness

 

Overuse of white strips often goes unchecked as individuals try to achieve quick results. Since these kits are not tailor made for each individual, results can vary drastically and many people give up before the appropriate treatment time.

 

For example, if a person’s teeth are particularly unaligned, it may be much more difficult for a store-bought white strip to produce even results. However, a professional procedure can address any type of smile. Likewise, individuals with bonded or capped teeth will find that the artificial parts of their teeth may be a different color from natural, whitened teeth. A dentist can help provide direction on how to address such a color differential.

 

5.      Side Effects

 

As with any peroxide-based whitening, the two most common side effects are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Overuse or harsh ingredients can do damage to a tooth’s enamel, and ironically cause more discoloration in the long run.

 

Because white strips aren’t cut to the shape of your teeth – just a straight line on the top and bottom – the strip is usually applied on the teeth as well as the gum, which can lead to gum irritation. However, a dentist’s office can help provide a custom-made whitening process that can minimize this type of discomfort.   

 

It’s best to check with your dentist before starting any regimen – home or professional. "Here is a comparison of professional teeth whitening vs store bought kits."

Is Invisalign right for you?

Is Invisalign right for you? 

 

If you’re a teenager or adult who needs to straighten his teeth, Invisalign is an option to consider, depending on your mouth and budget.

 

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, more than 2 million patients have had their teeth aligned with this technology, which is nearly invisible because the braces are applied to the insides of teeth.

 

An orthodontist or dentist will make incremental adjustments to the teeth's position over time with several Invisalign trays, according to Signature Smiles, a full-service dental clinic in Houston. These trays must be worn 20 hours per day for about two weeks. The amount of adjustments will determine the number of Invisalign trays and how long it will take to achieve a healthy, dazzling smile.

 

The cost of treatment varies based on the length of treatment, the complexity and where you live, said Dr. Sylvan Fain, a Miami cosmetic dentist. Although the cost can be as high as $9,000 in New York City, the average fee runs from $3,500 to $6,500. 

 

 "Some easy cases can be less, and complex cases can be more,” Fain explained. Patients may want to research how much an office charges for retainers, patient records and related costs.

 

 Retainers are worn after treatment is finished to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original position, Fain said.

 

At Signature Smiles, the staff works with patients to research their health and dental insurance to learn what is covered and what isn’t. Ask the dentist to set up payment plans to handle what isn’t covered.

 

Before having Invisalign treatment, teenagers usually will need to get their wisdom teeth removed. Teenagers may be concerned about being teased and embarrassed while wearing braces, and Invisalign is a self-esteem booster. Invisalign teen braces can also be removed so she can eat whatever and whenever she wants.

 

“It is effective for mild to moderate crowding and alignment cases,” said Dr.  Greg Jorgensen, a board-certified orthodontist in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. “It is especially good for patients who have had previous orthodontic treatment but did not wear their retainers and have experienced some relapse. 

 

“My patients can take out their aligners to eat and brush. Patients like it because it looks so much better than braces. So in many cases, Invisalign is actually my treatment of choice.”

 

Not everyone, though, is a candidate for Invisalign. Orthodontists don’t recommend that children have it done, and some of the parts can be lost and need replacement, which can add to treatment time and costs. 

 

No matter your age, be sure to ask your dentist how serious the crooked teeth are and how healthy your teeth are. If your issues are serious, Invisalign may not be a good option. You may not want to go through all the follow-up visits and associated costs.

 

Clear ceramic braces and lingual braces are solid options if Invisalign is not. Ask the dentist about all the options if traditional, metal braces bother you.

 

“The most tried and true, economical alternative is clear braces,” Jorgensen said. “They have been around a long time. Modern manufacturing techniques have overcome practically all of the long-standing weaknesses that have plagued previous generations of clear brackets. Today’s appliances are stronger, smaller, and do not stain like previous models. 

 

“The only two drawbacks…are that they are still more fragile than metal, and they still cost your orthodontist more to purchase, which he must pass on to you.”

 

At Signature Smiles, Dr. Kevin Yeh, our board-certified orthodontist, and our staff will assist you with deciding between all the options so that you’ll be satisfied with the long-term results.

Fluoride in Water vs. Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride in  Water vs. Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride in Water vs. Fluoride Treatment - What's the Difference?

There’s plenty of talk about fluoride – it’s probably in your drinking water and your toothpaste, it may be in your mouthwash, and your dentist might mention it during every visit, especially if you have kids. But what’s the difference between the low amount of fluoride you’re consuming every day and the fluoride treatment your dentist offers?

Before you dig any deeper, a little background on fluoride. It’s a naturally occurring mineral and a crucial ingredient of dental health. The hard, outer protective layer of your teeth, the enamel, frequently undergoes changes to its mineral content, and mineral deficiencies can lead to dental caries – also known as tooth decay. Fluoride is one of the materials that help keep this mineral balance positive and protect against the onset of dental maladies.  

Fluoride is also especially important for children, which is a major reason its levels are boosted in many community water systems. For kids between the ages of 6 and 16, maintaining good oral hygiene is particularly important, as this is the developmental period for their permanent teeth. Dental issues that start at this age have the potential to last a lifetime.

While fluoride is present in many natural water sources – oceans, springs, and so on – the amounts present don’t always add up to an effective dose. So, since the 1960s, municipalities have opted to add fluoride to their drinking water. This ensures that developing youngsters, no matter their diet or dental hygiene habits, at least have a shot at staving off tooth decay. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed water fluoridation as one of the greatest public health improvements of the past century (since tooth decay is actually considered an infectious disease, it falls under the purview of the CDC).

The United States Public Health Service has concluded that the ideal level of fluoride in civil water sources is 0.7 parts per million. Prior to this, the recommended range reached a higher limit (1.2 parts per million), an amount that can be a contributing factor in cases of cosmetic fluorosis. Cosmetic fluorosis is a mild discoloration of the teeth.

The levels above, combined with good dental hygiene and regular cleanings, tend to be a good fluoride baseline for the average adult. However, there are a variety of reasons the over-16 crowd might need to take tooth care to the next level. This can include eating habits, as overdoing it on sugary food can lead to reductions in fluoride. A history of cavities can be an indicator of a fluoride deficiency, and existing dental work, like crowns and bridges, can be a magnet for tough-to-clean spots and tooth decay. Even a dry mouth – whether caused by taking certain medications or otherwise – can lead to tooth decay. In all of these cases, fluoride treatments can make a difference.

 While there are a slew of over-the-counter products that contain moderate amounts of fluoride, sometimes that may not be enough. That’s where the benefits of fluoride applications at the dentist’s office come into play. Fluoride treatments are usually applied topically, and may come as a foam, varnish, or gel. The goal of these procedures is to help bring the fluoride-positive balance back to your mouth, keeping tooth decay at a healthy distance.

If you think you may be in need of fluoride applications to help prevent tooth decay, Signature Smiles can help you discover the best plan of action.

How to choose the right braces for you

How to choose the right braces for you

 

If your dentist has told your son or daughter he or she needs braces, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that even the metal ones are lighter, smaller and more comfortable than those of the past.

 

Thanks to technology, people of all ages have more choices than ever when deciding which braces will work the fastest and best at re-aligning your teeth for a better smile and easier chewing.

 

Orthodontists recommend that parents bring kids in for evaluation when they are 7 years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The earlier your child has his teeth examined, the more time you have to plan ahead for dental insurance, health savings accounts and other methods to cover the costs.

 

 Braces can run from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on whether you select traditional, metal braces or go with lingual braces, which are hidden on the insides of teeth.

 

American Association of Orthodontists members say that the average length of orthodontic treatment is 22 months.

 

Signature Smiles has Dr. Kevin Yeh on staff, who specializes in braces, including Invisalign treatment. A native of Arlington, Texas, he earned his DDS degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He joined the United States Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington, and on the USS Carl Vinson, which is famous for being the ship that disposed of terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s body in 2011.

 

 Not only does Yeh have extra orthodontic experience, he has a good sense of humor when working with his patients, especially children.

 

Children can have fun choosing from 24 colors for the bands, customizing his smile, according to Dr. Renee Roland of Roland Orthodontics in Penfield, New York. The colors include purple, pink, red, yellow, blue and even black.

 

Although Invisalign has enjoyed popularity with many adults, more than 2 million of whom have used it, the method isn’t recommended for kids because of the temptation to remove the trays and forget to put them back in. Even adults may be tempted to leave them out and thus prolong treatment, which may also increase costs.

 

Keep in mind, though, that many health or dental insurance plans won’t cover costs for adults, while partially covering children under the age of 18, according to the Oral B brand website. 

 

For any plan, be sure to ask about the percentage the company covers and the lifetime maximum per child. While coverage varies widely, it averages 50 percent, with a $1,500 lifetime maximum.

 

Experts also recommend that you keep the same insurance plan during your entire orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontic plans won’t cover braces if they have already been applied before the policy went into effect. In other words, the company considers that a pre-existing condition that would have to be paid by the patient.

 

If braces are considered medically necessary, the costs may be tax deductible. Be sure to keep all dental and medical bills, even small co-payment invoices, for tax time.

 

To learn more about itemized tax deductions for medical expenses, visit http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html

 

If your income is low, check to see if you or your child can qualify for Medicaid coverage. Again, the braces must be deemed medically necessary.

 

Patients can also set aside pretax dollars to help pay for braces in a flexible spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement account, or a medical savings account.

 

Some universities have dental or orthodontic schools that offer apprentices who will do the work at reduced cost. But they also may have a three-to-four-month waiting list for services.

 

With so many options available, it can be daunting trying to choose “the right one. ” The best solution is the one that works best for you and your family. 

Root canal: Can your general dentist handle it?

Root canal: Can your general dentist handle it?

In spite of what you’ve heard about root canals, they’re not time-consuming or painful, especially if you ask your dentist and get informed about the best treatment for your specific tooth or teeth.

Root canals are one of the best ways to save your tooth after it’s been cracked, infected, or decayed past the point of getting a crown. The earlier the pulp, the living tissue inside your root, is treated, the better your chances of saving your teeth. 

At Signature Smiles, Dr. Scott Howell, a Harvard-trained root canal specialist, has a reputation for being extremely professional and gentle. He’s an endodontist who received an extra years of advanced residency training in the diagnosis and management of diseases and disorders of the dental pulp.

When performed correctly, root canals have as much as a 97-percent success rate, said Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S., of New York City. 

Not all dentists, though, have the extensive experience that endodontists do. Working with a dentist who specializes in anesthesiology, you can be assured that you’ll get painless and safe treatment. That care is available at Signature Smiles.

You also won’t have to see a new dentist, fill out all the medical history paperwork, and deal with financial and insurance worries.

Not all teeth are alike when root canal is needed, dentists explain. For someone with a small mouth, the surgery is a little more complicated. Back molars also have three canals to check for infection and therapy. 

Although it’s standard to use dental dams inside the mouth during root canal, only 47 percent of dentists always use them, according to a study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. The study asked almost 1,500 general dentists about dental dams usage. Researchers found substantial differences in their attitudes.

When The Wealthy Dentist marketing website surveyed general dentists about how often they perform root canals, some were hesitant to do them in their office, especially if complications arise. Only 17 percent of dentists referred out all root canals to endodontists. In rural areas particularly, many male dentists did the procedure themselves.

Patients with small mouths and infected molars should definitely seek out an endodontist. These specialists have all the equipment and expertise needed for the best medical care.

During the procedure, the American Association of Endodontists and textbooks recommend a dental dam for preventing saliva in bacteria from reaching the tooth, which could jeopardize the chances of successful treatment. If the patient has to return due to complications, there’s a much lower success rate.

“Beliefs that dental dam use is inconvenient, time-consuming, not effective, not easy to place, or affected by patient factors were independently and significantly associated with lower use of a dental dam,” said Gregg Gilbert, DDS, professor and chair of the department of clinical and community sciences at UAB.

The cost associated with this treatment can vary depending on the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected, according to Dr. Robert S. Roda of Scottsdale, Arizona. 

In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth, Roda said.

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of a root canal. With a variety of treatments available it’s easier to find the best treatment for your specific case. 

How General Anesthesia Differs from IV Sedation

How General Anesthesia Differs from IV Sedation

When you or your child need a dental procedure, likely you’re going to need anesthesia. The options can be confusing. It’s important to know the differences between the different types of sedation and anesthesia, so you can make the right decision for you, and ask the dentist the appropriate questions.

One question that dentists hear a lot is what’s the difference between IV sedation and general anesthesia. It’s a great question since they both involve an intravenous line. To answer it, let’s go through the various types of anesthesia.

Local anesthesia

When you get local anesthesia, it means that the procedure area gets numbed. Usually that’s done with a shot of Novocain, perhaps with some numbing gel applied first with a swab. The local anesthesia doesn’t affect the rest of you, and won’t make you more relaxed. It just means the surgical area won’t hurt during the procedure. These shots are often used for filling cavities, doing root canals or removing teeth.

Conscious or minimal sedation

With sedation, the patient gets a form of anesthesia that relaxes them, making it easier to tolerate a dental procedure. Several substances are used to sedate someone for dental procedure. For kids it’s often nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. Adults might get nitrous oxide, but they may also take an anti-anxiety pill or a liquid to sedate them. With these types of sedation, the patient is able to breathe independently, so an airway tube isn’t needed, according to the American Dental Association. Like with local anesthesia, this sedation is used for root canals and removing teeth, or for patients who might be anxious or uncooperative during the procedure.

IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation, or IV sedation, makes dental procedures easier to tolerate, especially for nervous patients. It can also make the procedure safer, because the patient is relaxed and will remember less about the procedure. This means less mental trauma, making future dental treatment easier. With IV sedation, the medication is put directly into the patient’s vein, so it is fast-acting and the patient gets a deeper level of sedation. Patients are still conscious during the procedure, but there is some recovery time at the end of the procedure. It’s also used for root canals and removing teeth, and for anxious patients and those who might not cooperate during the procedure.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is the deepest form of sedation, as the patient becomes unconscious during the procedure. That means the patient will have no memory of it. Like with IV sedation, the medication is given through the veins. Patients get a breathing tube to make sure they’re getting the oxygen needed. There’s a longer recovery time after general anesthesia, and the procedure is done at an outpatient facility like a dental surgery center. Dentists certified in anesthesia can administer general anesthesia, as it requires additional training. General anesthesia is recommended for extensive procedures or for patients who are extremely anxious or have issues with cooperation or following directions.

Your dentist at Signature Smiles can talk to you about anesthesia recommendations for your dental procedure. 

Why Patients Choose Sedation Dentistry

Why Patients Choose Sedation Dentistry

 Going to the dentist is tough for some people, including many kids. Fortunately there are ways to help both kids and worried adults get through dental procedures and teeth cleanings, even if they are highly anxious about doing so.

 Also known as sleep dentistry, sedation dentistry uses anesthesia to relax the patient so they’ll be more comfortable during the procedure. Often all it takes it breathing in some nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, to sail through a dental treatment.

Why do patients seek sedation dentistry?

There are many reasons a patient might opt for sedation dentistry. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s quite common. For example, some reasons that patients at Signature Smiles in Houston ask for sedation dentistry are:

Difficulty cooperating: some people (kids, in particular) have trouble sitting still in the dental chair and don’t cooperate during the procedure. Given that dentists and hygienists use sharp instruments in their mouths to clean teeth and fill cavities, it’s important for the patient to remain calm during dental procedures.

Fear of the dentist: every dentist aims to make patients both comfortable and happy in the dental chair, but the trays of foreign-looking tools, water picks and bright lights can be a bit unnerving. Sedation dentistry can make the visit a much more comfortable experience.

Gag reflex: not everyone can suppress their gag reflex while dentists are working in their mouth. Especially in little mouths, the gag reflex can be strong and no one wants a child – or an adult – throwing up or gagging during a dental procedure.

Major work or difficult procedures: If a child needs a lot of dental work or even just a cavity filled, it might be hard to lie quietly during the procedure. The sounds of drills, the feeling of the suction in the mouth and the numbing needle or gel is uncomfortable for some patients. While adults may have a better understanding of the steps the dentist is taking, the stress of an impending procedure can be just as difficult to manage.

If you’re considering sedation dentistry for yourself or for your child, it’s good to have a consultation with the dentist before using it. You’ll be able to get your questions answered before even approaching the dental chair. You’ll be instructed about what type of clothing to wear, when to eat/drink and what you might feel like after the anesthesia.

If the procedure will involve nitrous oxide (laughing gas), the dentist can show you the mask ahead of time. This is especially important when planning a procedure for children; this way they can become familiar with the mask they’ll be using and can get used to the feel of it on their face. They can also bring a comfort item like a toy to hold during the procedure and you’ll be in the room with them. The dentist and hygienist will talk to your child while they’re in the chair, to tell them what to expect before and as it happens.

Sleep dentistry can make a dental office visit a positive experience for those who don’t already like visiting!

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