Sedation Dentistry FAQs – Los Angeles, CA

Taking the Anxiety Out of Your Dental Visit

A female patient talking to her dentist

Going to the dentist shouldn’t have to be an anxiety-filled experience. Unfortunately, for some people, the fear is so real that it prevents them from receiving necessary dental care, resulting in serious oral and overall health problems. At Westside Dental Associates, our sedation dentist in Los Angeles wants to calm your nerves and ease your mind while visiting our office. This is why we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common sedation dentistry frequently asked questions. By reviewing this list, we hope you will feel more comfortable and confident about your next dental visit. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to call our office.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

A woman holding her cheek in pain

If you’re wondering where your anxiety is coming from, it can most likely be traced back to a negative dental experience you had as a child. From the sights and sounds to the poking and prodding, it can be an uncomfortable and scary situation for a young person, especially if the dentist was less than pleasant. However, this isn’t always the case. Dental anxiety can also be caused by a fear of needles, which are sometimes necessary, especially if administering anesthesia for a procedure. The good news is that with sedation dentistry, all of these fears can be eliminated.

What Are the Risks of Avoiding the Dentist?

A woman holding her cheek at the dentist office

If you think you can just get by without seeing the dentist, guess again. Forgoing regular dental checkups and cleanings can lead to serious oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, and even oral cancer. These six-month appointments are necessary to not only give your teeth the thorough cleaning they need, but they also allow our dental team to check for any problems and address them before they become too severe. When calling to schedule your appointment, talk to our team about sedation options. This will ensure you are calm and comfortable throughout your visit, making it easier for you to come in the next time.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?

A nitrous oxide mask on a female patient’s nose

If you need a mild sedative, Dr. Latner can administer nitrous oxide, which requires that you breathe in through a mask that fits over your nose. As you breathe in, you will begin to feel calm and even warm. You will not be asleep, but you will feel as if you’re floating. The effects of nitrous oxide quickly wear off once the mask is removed, making it possible to return to work immediately after your visit.

What if I Need Something Stronger Than Nitrous Oxide?

A female patient sedated during a dental procedure

Dr. Latner also offers two other forms of sedation: IV sedation and oral conscious sedation. If you are preparing for a dental procedure, or your dental anxiety in Los Angeles calls for more than just nitrous oxide, we can provide you with a prescribed medication, which you will take when you arrive for your appointment. You will receive a blanket, and you will have all of your questions answered by a dental assistant who will be by your side the entire time. In addition to the medication, Dr. Latner will also administer nitrous oxide to enhance the sedation, allowing you to rest comfortably throughout the procedure.

It’s important to remember that you will not be asleep, but instead, you will remain conscious enough to answer questions and cues by our dental team. Because the effects do take some time to wear off, you will need a family member or friend to escort you to and from the dentist office.

IV sedation is another form of sedation that is typically only used in extreme situations (i.e. serious dental fear or a complex procedure). We will administer the medication through an IV and carefully monitor and adjust the dosage as needed throughout the process. You will achieve a deep state of relaxation but remain conscious, so you can respond to Dr. Latner.

It will be unlikely that you will remember anything from your visit, and it’s critical that you have someone take you and pick you up from your appointment.

Is It Safe?

A female patient in the dentist chair

More and more dentists are offering sedation dentistry as a result of many patients expressing deep concerns or fears when it comes to having their teeth cleaned or worked on. Sedation dentistry is safe and effective, but it is important to know that there can be side effects, depending on the patient. Some might experience a headache or nausea afterward. But, overall, you can expect to have a comfortable, relaxing experience when visiting our office.