5 Frequently Asked Questions About Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry

If you struggle with dental anxiety, it can be a challenge just to walk in the door of a dentist’s office. While modern dentistry has come a long way in comfort and technology, you may be one of the 9% to 20% of patients who avoid getting dental care because they’re afraid. Usually, this is because of a bad experience in the past.

This fear may be so subconscious that you might not even know this is the reason you are holding back from getting your dental needs taken care of.

Approximately 36% of the population is affected by dental anxiety, while 12% suffer from extreme dental anxiety. No dentist wants their patients to feel fearful of their treatment!

At Ada Smile Place, we’ve gone the extra mile to ensure that our patients never have to feel afraid in the dental chair.

1. What happens when dental anxiety prevents patients from accepting the dental care they need?

If you are prescribed dental treatment, it’s important to act soon. Waiting only compounds the problem.

Neglecting your oral health by not accepting the help and treatment you need can lead to lost teeth, inflammation in the body, and higher risk for other overall health problems. Inflammation has been linked to everything from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Down the road, it also leads to much more expensive treatment.

Yet, we know that patients do not procrastinate on dental treatment because they don’t care about their teeth or health. Of course, they do! Instead, we have seen patients hesitate out of anxiety or fear of various dental procedures. Once they know they can receive care without pain, most patients are relieved to catch up with or move forward with their treatment.

Our number one goal at Ada Smile Place is to help our patients experience compassionate dentistry and get the care they need. We are proud to offer a variety of comfort solutions to make your dental treatment as pleasant as possible. From basic local anesthesia to sedation dentistry such as laughing gas and oral conscious sedation (OCS), we have even the most nervous patient covered.

2. Is there more than one kind of sedation dentistry?

Anxiolytic nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the mildest form of sedation. Patients receive it along with oxygen to help them relax and experience a feeling of wellbeing. For anxious or sensitive patients or those who would prefer help to relax during their treatment, this is a good option.

For patients with higher anxiety, those undergoing more complex treatment, or for those who simply want to get a lot of treatment at once to cut down on appointments in a doctor-approved way, we are happy to offer oral conscious sedation.

This allows patients to come in for treatment and feel as though they have only been here for 10 minutes. Our dentists do a thorough evaluation of each patient’s medical history and medications prior to scheduling patients for oral conscious sedation.

Sedation dentistry is an excellent treatment for patients with extensive dental needs, who are concerned about anxiety, who have difficulty getting numb, or who have sensitive teeth. 

Due to the relaxing effects of the medication, patients must have a friend or family member bring them to the dental office and return them home.

3. Does a dentist need special licensing in order to perform sedation? 

In Oklahoma, a dentist needs to complete a 16-hour board-approved course and special certification before providing oral conscious sedation to pediatric patients.

The American Association of Dentistry recommends completing “at least 24 hours of instructive classroom training with at least 10 clinical patient experiences” and “16 hours training for minimal sedation” before providing OCS to adult patients.

Our team here at Ada Smile Place is equipped and trained to provide oral conscious sedation.

4. Does sedation make you fall asleep?

As the name suggests, you are actually not asleep during the process when you are under oral conscious sedation. You will feel relaxed and groggy, but you will still be able to respond to your dentist.

The fact that you are awake during oral sedation is one of the reasons OCS is such a preferred option for anxiety and pain—you still have perfect control over your breathing, making it a safe but relaxing and pain-free way to experience your dental care.

5. Is oral sedation safe?

Because you can control your breathing and your protective reflexes, oral sedation dentistry is among the very safest forms of comfort dentistry there is. 

If dental anxiety is holding you back, talk to us about your options at Ada Smile Place. It can be heartbreaking to see patients hesitate to accept treatment, and we’ve taken every measure to ensure your safety, comfort, and expert dental care. Together, we can achieve your healthiest, happiest smile possible!