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Posts for tag: sedation dentistry

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
December 20, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

We always look forward to seeing our patients, but not all of you look forward to seeing us! If you’re one of them, don’t worry — we don’t take it personally. Dental anxiety prevents many people from seeking the care they require to restore or maintain a healthy smile.

But if dental problems are allowed to progress, they can affect not only the beauty of your smile and health of your mouth, but your overall wellness, too. Infection can travel from the mouth to other areas of the body, and dental disease exacerbates chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Overcoming Apprehension

Fear should never be an obstacle (in the immortal words of President Franklin Roosevelt, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”). And fortunately there are some safe options for those of us who can’t get past our anxiety when it comes to dental care:

Oral Sedation. A sedative medication can be prescribed that you take by mouth approximately an hour before your dental visit to minimize anxiety and promote relaxation.

Intravenous (IV; “intra” – inside, “venous” – vein) Sedation. If oral sedation isn’t entirely effective in facilitating treatment, then a medication combining a sedative for relaxation and a pain-blocking anesthetic can be delivered through or small needle or catheter that is gently inserted into a vein. This is referred to as “conscious sedation” because you are in a semi-awake state during which you are able to respond to verbal direction. It takes effect quickly, and you can come out of it quickly. However, you may not remember much about your procedure. It is very different from general anesthesia during which you are completely unconscious.

Safety First

Dentists who offer IV sedation receive extensive training after which we must pass an exam and apply for a special permit that we maintain through continuing education. We carefully screen patients for eligibility and monitor you throughout so you can rest easy before, during, and after your procedure.

If you would like more information about sedation in dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
July 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: sedation dentistry  

Discover how sedation dentistry could make anxious patients less fearful of the dentist.

Do you cringe at the thought of seeing the dentist? Do you cancel your appointments out of fear? If so, find out why Dr. Jeffrey Harris is Sedation Dentistry making it easier for patients to leave their anxieties at the front door.

About Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry uses different forms of medication to help a patient relax during their dental visit. Sedation dentistry is designed to help soothe anxieties and make your next dental procedure easy and stress-free.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Patients can choose from different levels of sedation depending on their anxiety levels and the type of dental procedure they are having. Here are the varying intensities of sedation you can expect when you visit your Warrenton dentist:

Minimal sedation: Patients who receive minor sedation will be fully awake during their treatment but will feel completely calm.

Moderate sedation: Sometimes referred to as conscious sedation, some patients who receive moderate sedation may not remember parts of their procedure and will experience extreme relaxation throughout their visit.

Deep sedation: This is often used for those undergoing extensive or multiple dental procedures at once. Patients are on the verge of consciousness and can be easily awakened with a gentle nudge.

There are also different forms of sedation that your Warrenton dentist offers:

Inhalation sedation: By breathing in nitrous oxide (better known as laughing gas) your Warrenton dentist Dr. Harris can immediately help you relax. What tends to make this sedation ideal is that the effects wear off almost immediately after treatment.

Oral sedation: This is usually the most common form of sedation and can produce minimal to moderate effects. Oral sedation comes in the form of a prescription-strength anti-anxiety pill (most commonly a form of Valium). While it won’t produce unconsciousness it can cause drowsiness and reduce dental anxieties in nervous patients.

Who is Sedation Dentistry Right For?

Sedation dentistry is a great option for anyone who experiences dental fears or phobias. If you have been canceling one dental visit after another due to anxiety then it’s time to find out how sedation dentistry in Warrenton could make your next dental visit easier.

Sedation dentistry is also great for those who have sensitive gag reflexes, those who have problems sitting still for long periods of time, those who need multiple procedures performed at once and even for those with special needs.

If you think sedation dentistry could make your next dental procedure a breeze, then it’s time to call our office and let us know! Schedule an appointment today and take the stress out of seeing your dentist.


Anxiety in a child during dental procedures could interfere with the care they need. But recent advances in sedation drug therapy can calm pediatric patients safely and allow us to perform more invasive procedures without general anesthesia.

In contrast to general anesthesia, conscious sedation allows a patient to relax and feel calm while still breathing normally on their own and able to respond to certain stimuli. Conscious sedation can be deep, moderate or minimal. Deep sedation is akin to sleep and will also cause the child not to remember details of the procedure when they awaken. At the other end of the spectrum is minimal sedation, the most common type used in pediatric dentistry, which allows patients to respond to touching or verbal commands. Deep sedation drugs are usually administered intravenously, while those used for minimal sedation are administered orally with syrup. Conscious sedation doesn’t prevent pain, so it must also be accompanied by local anesthesia or other pain-relieving methods.

After you arrive for your child’s procedure, we’ll normally conduct a pre-sedation evaluation to be sure there are no medical problems that might interfere with the sedation. We typically use Midazolam (under the brand name Versed) or Hydroxyzine (also known as Vistaril or Atarax) to achieve sedation. Both are very safe, fast-acting and exit the body quickly after treatment.

During the procedure, a designated member of our staff continuously monitors your child’s vital signs, including pulse and respiration rates, blood pressure, temperature, and blood oxygen level. After the procedure your child will remain in recovery until vital signs return to pre-sedation levels. You should then take your child home and monitor them for the remainder of the day — definitely no return to school until at least the next day.

Safety is a top priority when using any sedation therapy — dental professionals follow strict procedures and protocols, as well as adhere to certification requirements enforced by many states. Performed in this manner, conscious sedation can help ensure your child’s experiences in our office are pleasant, and will hopefully result in a greater willingness when they grow up to continue professional dental care.

If you would like more information on conscious sedation for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sedation Dentistry for Kids.”