I am terrified of going to the dentist, what can I do about it?

Many patients dislike going to the dentist, but some have a debilitating fear that prevents them for receiving timely treatment that they require.  These patients avoid the dentist at all costs and allow dental problems to develop to the point where they are in excruciating pain.  This situation is very difficult to manage both for the patient and the dentist.  The key is to avoid this situation all together by addressing a dental issue long before it becomes acute.  The good news is that Dr. Vlahos and his team of dental professionals in St. Catharines and the Niagara region offer sedation dentistry to those patients who are anxious about dental treatment.  The types of sedation offered can be tailored to the patient ranging from light laughing gas sedation to deeper combined oral and nitrous oxide sedation for those patients that require more.  These sedation modalities are safe and effective.  They allow the patient to be relaxed and comfortable in the dental chair and get the necessary dental treatment to correct their problem.  It can be a life changing experience and a god send to those patients with high anxiety over dental treatment.

Our office offers 3 kinds of oral moderate sedation:

  1. Nitrous oxide sedation
    Nitrous oxide is an inhalational anesthetic that is a colourless and odorless gas (although the mask used sometimes has a pleasant fragrance added to it).  As you breathe in the gas, it rapidly enters your blood stream.  It gives the patient a relaxed and pleasant feeling.  It does act as a mild pain reliever as well.  Nitrous oxide administration can be delivered at varying concentrations.  Often, Dr. Vlahos will start the patient at a low level but can increase or decrease the level of sedation, so the patient is comfortable and relaxed.  The gas is only given for the duration of the procedure and once the treatment is done, the gas is flushed out of your body and you can return to normal.  The sedative effect is eliminated, and your can go about as you normally would.  Nitrous oxide can also help reduce gagging in those patients that easily gag.  It is a safe and effective and does not have any negative effects on any other parts of your body.
  2. Oral Sedation
    A sedative medication in pill form can be given to a patient one hour prior to their dental appointment.  Dr. Vlahos uses Triazolam which is a benzodiazepine and has a short half life of about 4 hours (that is, it wears off within a reasonable time; other pill sedatives usually last much longer).  Once the sedative takes effect, the patient will feel relaxed and comfortable.  Often, they will fall asleep in the dental chair but can awaken easily and breathe fully on their own.  Oral sedation can be effective, but patients must be accompanied both to and from the office.
  3. Oral Sedation and Nitrous Oxide
    Dr. Vlahos can combine both sedation modalities to produce a more profound sedation for those patients who require a deeper sedation.  While the sedation can be deeper, it does require a stricter regimen both prior, during and after your appointment.

There are many options available to our patients.  To find out which option works best for you, call our office at 905-937-4673 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how sedation dentistry can help you.