Reducing Dental Anxiety

Patients who are referred to our office can be a little nervous. This is normal, however, some patients are extremely anxious with respect to periodontal treatment.

Patients report many reasons for their anxiety:

  • “I’ve had a bad experience in the past”
  • “I’m worried that I have left things too long”
  • “My teeth are very sensitive and I am worried I will experience discomfort at some point during my appointment”
  • “I am needle phobic” (a fear of needles)
  • “I am a gagger”
  • “l have difficulty keeping my mouth open for extended periods of time”
  • ” I am afraid of the unknown”

Unfortunately, like heart disease, periodontal disease is silent and does not resolve on its own. Thus, periodontal disease must be treated and there are ways to offer this treatment comfortably.

Many patients with dental anxiety wish to be sedated and choose intravenous sedation to totally relax them during their dental visit. Intravenous sedation is a technique that helps to significantly relax the patient and makes it feel like the dental appointment goes extremely quickly. It is recommended for anxious patients who prefer not to remember the procedure.

How it works:
You must arrange for an escort to and from the office by a responsible family member or friend. Dr. Yamaoka will start an IV line in your arm or hand to administer medication which will allow you to drift off into a tranquil state. Most patients will sleep through the appointment and cannot recall the experience. The total relaxation that you experience will allow the procedure to be performed more efficiently, thus minimizing the total amount of time in the dental chair. A relaxed patient allows Dr. Yamaoka to provide the highest quality of care in a very relaxed environment. In addition to the intravenous sedation, profound topical anesthetic as well as local anesthetic is administered after you are sedated to render the treatment as comfortable as possible. 

Instructions Prior to Intravenous Sedation

Food and Beverages:

Unless directed by Dr. Yamaoka, you must have absolutely NOTHING to eat or drink for EIGHT (8) HOURS prior to your appointment as food in the stomach may cause vomiting during the anesthesia. It is essential to discuss with Dr. Yamaoka when you should take medication(s) that you normally take on a regular basis.

Clothing:

Small stickers will be placed on your collar bone and hip to monitor your vital signs during the procedure. For this reason, we ask that you wear loose and comfortable clothing to the appointment. Please do not wear nail polish or artificial (gel) nails as they interfere with the monitoring equipment. Do not wear contact lenses or make-up, as it can contaminate the surgical site.

Accompaniment:

You must arrange for someone such as a responsible family member or friend to drive you to and from your appointment. You must not drive yourself and a taxi driver does not count as an escort.

Instructions Following Intravenous Sedation

Upon discharge from the office, most patients feel sleepy and relaxed. You should plan to rest at home for the remainder of the day and a responsible family member or friend should stay with you.

You must not operate a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat, power tools or machinery for 24 hours or longer if drowsiness/dizziness persists after your surgery. Also, you should not sign or enter into any legal contracts until you have fully recovered from the effects of the sedation. Do not exercise or do any intensive physical activities for 5 days after the procedure.

Diet: 
We encourage you to start drinking cool liquids such as smoothies and protein shakes initially and then increase to soup or pasta consistency as tolerated. You should plan on a soft diet of food such as cottage cheese, yogurt, scrambled eggs, pasta, canned tuna or salmon for 7 to 10 days post surgery. You should not drink alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours after your surgery.