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Sedation Dentistry – Worcester, MA

Comfortable & Anxiety-Free Dental Care

It’s natural to feel a bit nervous when getting ready for a dental treatment or procedure. Unfortunately, for many patients, anxiety is a serious obstacle that prevents them from keeping their oral health on track. From the moment you walk into Handsman & Haddad Periodontics, our team is here to help you feel confident during and after treatment. It is very important to our doctors that every patient feels completely comfortable and relaxed throughout their care, which is why we offer sedation dentistry in Worcester as a helpful aid that can calm frazzled nerves and help relieve feelings of fear. These solutions help patients overcome their nerves and enjoy the comfortable, anxiety-free dental care they deserve. If you would like to learn more about arranging to have oral sedation at your next visit, please contact the office.

Am I A Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Dentist talking to patient

Dental sedation is an effective option for nearly all patients. To determine if you’re a good candidate for oral conscious sedation or IV sedation, we will conduct a thorough examination of your medical records and history. Sedation dentistry may be suitable for you if:

  • The idea of undergoing dental procedures makes you feel anxious or fearful.
  • You have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to sit still for an extended period of time.
  • You have a sensitive gag reflex.
  • You are not easily numbed with local anesthesia.
  • You must undergo a complex or lengthy dental procedure.

Is Sedation Dentistry Worth It?

Relaxed man in treatment chair giving thumbs up for dental sedation in Worcester

At Handsman & Haddad Periodontics, P.C., we believe sedation dentistry is worth it, especially if you’re contemplating the idea of avoiding treatment altogether. Too many times, patients forgo necessary dental care because of their fears; however, with oral conscious sedation, this can be remedied. Instead of giving up hope for a healthier smile, you can pursue better oral health without adding more stress.

With the help of oral conscious sedation or IV dental sedation, you can rest easy knowing that our team will take care of your smile, and you’ll avoid any pain throughout the process.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Closeup of patient holding oral conscious sedation medication and a glass of water

If just thinking about your appointment with the periodontist causes you to worry, then oral sedation may be just what the doctor ordered. With this type of sedation, a low-dose sedative pill is prescribed. You simply take the pill at the designated time before your appointment and your worries will begin to melt away. The sedative acts quickly so you will not be able to drive yourself to our office. Be sure to ask a relative or friend for a favor, so you have someone ready to drive you to your appointment, wait during your treatment and take you back home.

What Is Oral Conscious Sedation?

Woman reclining in a dental examination chair after taking oral conscious sedation

Oral conscious sedation uses a safe, commonly prescribed medication to create feelings of relaxation in nervous patients. On the day of your appointment, you’ll take the prescription shortly before arriving for your procedure. By the time we’re ready to begin, you’ll feel comfortable, relaxed, and anxiety-free. Because the effects of your sedation will take time to wear off, you’ll need to have a friend or family member with you to drive you home. You’ll be free to return to your normal activities by the next day.

What Happens When I Take Oral Conscious Sedation?

Sleeping female patient

When you arrive at the periodontist in Worcester, you will be taken to an examination room and comfortably settled into the chair. By this time, the sedative medication will have been in your system for a while, so you should feel completely relaxed and ready to have your periodontal treatment.

With oral sedation, we may be able to schedule more than one procedure in a single visit. Sometimes, patients have no recollection of what happens during their care in our office. Therefore, they think that they’ve slept the whole time. In fact, you remain awake and able to respond to our questions and instructions. At the end of your appointment, you’ll have time to recover before you leave. We suggest you rest for the remainder of the day while the sedative wears off. And depending on the type of procedure you’ve had in our office, you may need more time to recuperate before you feel up to going about your regular daily activities.

Is Oral Conscious Sedation Safe?

Worcester periodontist and patient discussing candidacy for oral sedation in Worcester

Yes, oral conscious sedation is a safe option for individuals who suffer from moderate to severe dental anxiety. It is also a great option for anyone who must undergo multiple periodontal procedures. However, it is important that patients complete a thorough consultation with a member of our team before moving forward with any kind of procedure. We must understand your oral and overall health history as well as any medications you are currently taking.

The likelihood that you will experience any ill side effects as a result of oral conscious sedation is slim; however, it’s not impossible. Some post-procedural effects are normal, such as a dry mouth, temporary hiccups, and slight amnesia. We will recommend that you have someone escort you home after your procedure because it does take time for the anesthesia and sedation to fully wear off.

IV Dental Sedation

Patient with IV sedation in Worcester

IV dental sedation is the most powerful sedation option. This anti-anxiety medication is delivered directly into the bloodstream via a small needle. From there, it only takes a matter of moments for feelings of relaxation to wash over the patient. We will closely monitor your breathing and heart rate to ensure you are as comfortable and safe as possible throughout your appointment. The effects of this sedative will last for several hours after your procedure, so you’ll need to arrange a ride home with a friend or family member, where you should plan on relaxing for the remainder of the day.

What Is IV Dental Sedation?

IV sedation in Worcester

IV sedation is a service that is offered to patients with severe anxiety or who require multiple or extensive dental procedures. More invasive than nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation, it is administered via the hand or bend of the elbow. The solution then enters the bloodstream and begins to take effect within seconds. You can expect to enter a deep state of relaxation, and you may even fall asleep. Throughout your procedure, your sedation dentist in Worcester will monitor your vitals (i.e., oxygen, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate).

You will be required to have someone escort you home after your treatment is complete because the effects take time to wear off.

Who Administers IV Dental Sedation?

Dental team member in Worcester

We are dedicated to providing you with outstanding anesthesia services with safety as our number one priority. IV sedation is administered by a board-certified dentist anesthesiologist. Having a dentist anesthesiologist present for your sedation allows Dr. Handsman and Dr. Jenny to focus solely on the dental procedure while your safety and comfort is maintained to the same monitoring standards and equipment as used in a hospital setting.

Who Is a Good Candidate for IV Dental Sedation?

Patient receiving IV sedation in Worcester

Typically, patients who are preparing for invasive and lengthy procedures are ideal candidates for this type of sedation. It is also a good option for those who experience extreme dental anxiety, a sensitive gag reflex, or difficulty getting numb through other methods of sedation and anesthesia.

We will need to discuss your medical history and any medications you are currently taking with your periodontist to ensure there will be no allergies to the IV solution or potential complications.

The Benefits of IV Dental Sedation

Woman smiling after IV sedation in Worcester

If you are concerned about the idea of undergoing IV sedation for your upcoming procedure, you should know there are many great benefits you can expect, such as:

  •  Its relaxing abilities make it possible to prevent additional traumatizing dental memories that might keep you from returning to the dentist.
  •  Its effects come on quickly, so you’re not left feeling fearful long after you arrive for your appointment.
  •  Your dentist can control how much medication is flowing through the IV during your procedure, unlike with oral conscious sedation.
  •  It is capable of improving your oral health because it reduces the fear of receiving treatment.

How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?

Woman in dental chair feeling confident thanks to sedation dentistry in Worcester

The cost of sedation dentistry depends on a few factors, including the amount and type of sedative that is used. IV sedation usually costs more than oral conscious sedation. In most cases, insurance considers sedation to be elective, so your policy may not cover it. However, your plan is more likely to help you pay for sedation if you are undergoing a complex or extensive surgery, or you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to sit still during dental procedures.

Although many dental insurance companies may not offer coverage for sedation dentistry, it can certainly be worth the investment if your anxiety is keeping you from seeking regular dental care. What you will pay for IV or oral conscious sedation will be significantly less than an extensive procedure that involves addressing a serious dental problem and requires tooth replacement and regular maintenance. At our dental office, we understand any type of treatment can be costly, which is why we have a partnership with CareCredit to allow for flexible financing when uninsured or need assistance paying for your care.

Does Dental Insurance Pay for Sedation Dentistry?

Dental tools on $100 bills representing the cost of sedation dentistry in Worcester

Although it would be nice for dental insurance to pay for sedation, it’s often viewed as a non-essential component of dental care. This is why it is unlikely that they will pay. There are certain situations, however, that will lead insurance companies to cover the cost, such as someone who is disabled and requires sedation to undergo necessary care.

Our team will be happy to review your plan to determine if you can receive coverage or not. If not, we will go over alternative ways to pay so that you can still receive the treatment you need without the added stress, pain, or anxiety.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Closeup of dentist typing on calculator next to a model tooth

Feel a bit unsure about sedation dentistry in Worcester? You’re not alone. Many patients like the idea in theory, but when it comes to receiving it for an upcoming procedure, they may feel hesitant. Fortunately, our experienced doctors and dental team are here to provide clarity about the process of receiving oral conscious or IV sedation and will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have. Below is a list of common questions asked by previous patients. As you review this information, please contact us with any additional inquiries you might have.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Sedation dentistry is safe for practically all patients; however, it is vital that we first have a discussion with you about your medical history and any current medications you are taking. There are certain situations that may require you to seek alternative forms of sedation or wait until a later date to pursue treatment (i.e., pregnancy). When undergoing your treatment with sedation dentistry, you can expect our team to monitor your vitals (i.e., blood pressure, oxygen, heart rate) to ensure you remain safe and comfortable throughout the procedure.

Will I Remember Anything with Dental Sedation?

Although you will remain conscious throughout your procedure, it’s unlikely that you will remember much, if anything, of your appointment. When receiving IV sedation, most patients tend to forget about their dental visit, whereas oral conscious sedation may cause you to remember a few things here and there. This temporary amnesia makes it possible for individuals who are fearful of the dentist or who have had traumatic past experiences to pursue treatment with greater ease. 

What Are the Risks of Sedation Dentistry?

Our team will do everything we can to ensure your safety while undergoing sedation dentistry; however, there are always potential risks involved. The most common include those caused by taking certain medications while receiving oral conscious or IV sedation, as the two may negatively interact with each other. Also, if you struggle with sleep apnea, you may have difficulties with sedation. Certain side effects can range from nausea and fatigue to severe headaches. This is why it is important that you do not disregard any information concerning your medical and healthy history when talking to your periodontist in Worcester.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe While Pregnant?

The medications used in sedation can pass through the placenta and affect a developing baby. For that reason, sedation is not recommended for pregnant women. If your need for a procedure is non-urgent, it would be best to wait until after you give birth to undergo it.

If there is an urgent situation, it would be best to forgo sedation. Local anesthesia is safe for pregnant women and their developing babies, so you should still be able to enjoy comfortable treatment.

What Does It Feel Like to Be Sedated at the Dentist?

The sensations that come with sedation depend on which type of sedation is being used. With oral conscious sedation, you may be very drowsy and relaxed. You might feel “heavy” and perhaps even drift off to sleep. IV sedation feels similar to oral conscious sedation, but it can produce even more powerful effects.

How Long Does Dental Sedation Last?

Oral conscious sedation and IV sedation tend to last for at least several hours after a procedure. In fact, it may take up to 24 hours for the medication’s effects to completely dissipate. In the meantime, you may feel groggy. It would be wise to avoid driving or other activities that require fast reflexes while you are waiting for the sedation to finish wearing off.