John C. Chao, DDS, MAGD

Research Associate Professor, Post Graduate Program in Periodontics, SUNY – Buffalo (University at Buffalo)
Anxiety Management, Faculty, USC School of Dentistry

(626) 308-9104

Treatment Options

Oral / Nitrous / I.V. Sedation

Good news for dental "chickens!" According to the American Dental Association, over 40 million people don't visit the dentist due to fear of treatment. The vast majority of these patients can be helped by using what we call Sedation Dentistry. It is a safe and effective option to relieve anxiety associated with dental treatment and allows our patients to remain deeply relaxed for long periods of time, while remaining awake. There are two ways by which Dr. Chao can sedate you for dental treatment. The first is through oral conscious sedation and the other is intravenous (I.V.) conscious sedation.

The easier and more popular choice is oral conscious sedation. Oral pre-medication is used before and sometimes during the appointment. It is a safe and affordable means of relieving high anxiety in patients who prefer an effortless and comfortable way of having all their treatment done in a few appointments. This technique generally calls for the patient to take a pill the evening before the appointment. In the morning the patient is escorted to the office by someone else and is given another pill before the start of the procedure. Sometimes we also use nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") to augment and control the depth of sedation for you.

Although sedated and deeply relaxed, the patient is awake during the entire appointment. In most cases only one or two appointments are necessary to have all their dental care completed. After treatment is finished, the patient is required to be escorted back home. Patients generally recall a pleasant experience of short duration, even though the appointment may have been for two hours or more.

When a patient suffers from moderate or severe anxieties and prefers a deeper form of sedation, intravenous (I.V.) sedation may be used. The patient is placed in a deeper sedated state through the intravenous route, but is conscious enough to respond to verbal instructions. Partial or complete amnesia is also common. Special training and certification is required for the administration of intravenous sedation and Dr. Chao is certified as a dental anesthesiologist.

So if you are a "chicken" when it comes to dentistry, remember you are in good company. Even some of the strongest, biggest men are in this category. Dentists are specialists when it comes to caring for anxious, fearful patients and Dr. Chao prides himself on this wonderful service we are able to offer our patients.

So don't hesitate to openly announce that you have anxieties and fears regarding dental treatment and let us explain to you the new and exciting ways you can be helped to receive the dental care you need and deserve...then get the smile you always wanted. It's that easy!

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