Solutions for Overcoming Dental Fear and Anxiety

At Valley Endodontics Root Canal & Implant Dentistry we are committed to helping you get the care you need.

Dental Anxiety is Not Uncommon

Dr.’s Wilson & Shurtz and their compassionate staff understand that it is common and perfectly normal to have some degree of apprehension or anxiety prior to receiving dental treatment. In fact, some studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental related fear and 20% avoid dental care because of it.  We understand that dental treatment may be especially frightening for young children who may require general anesthesia and that some patients don’t do well with anything less than general anesthesia.  For our patient’s requiring general anesthesia Dr. Wilson & Shurtz work with a board certified anesthesiologist to provide the anesthesia while Dr. Wilson & Shurtz provide the dental work.

At Valley Endodontics & Implant Dentistry we have an unwavering commit to you and provide a wide range of dental sedation options for your wellbeing, comfort and safety. Dr. Brian Wilson has advanced training in sedation and is licensed by the State Board of Dentistry to provide sedation using intravenous (IV), oral (liquid or pill form) and inhalation (nitrous oxide) sedative medications. Dr. Ryan Shurtz is licesnsed by the State Board of Dentistry to provide oral sedation and nitrous oxide sedation.  All of the surgical assisting staff at Valley Endodontics have advanced education and training in anesthesia monitoring and certification through the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology.

Whatever the cause, apprehension or anxiety can produce many unpleasant effects including heart palpitations, high blood pressure, upset stomach and trouble sleeping the night before the appointment. Many highly apprehensive patients avoid dental care for many years until their problems become so severe that they are forced to seek emergency care. Sedation dentistry is used to provide a more pleasant, relaxing and safer experience for the apprehensive patient.

If you have a fear of dental work, we want you to know that making you feel comfortable and safe at our office is our first priority.

We Can Help!

Whatever your individual level of anxiety may be, our office is committed to making sure that your visit is as comfortable and easy as possible. There are many solutions for dental anxiety, and we are ready to help.

Here are a few popular and effective non-medication methods for easing anxiety in the dental office:

  • Communication:
    Informing us as to what you are afraid of is a great place to start. Often we can quell a fear simply by giving you correct or updated information. We will always keep you informed before, during and after your procedure, making sure that you understand what is going on and why we are doing it.
  • Calming Techniques:
    Many patients find it helpful to practice controlled breathing or to find distraction inside the room.  Also, the use of a blanket to cover up and stay warm is very comforting. 
  • Listening to Music:
    With most procedures, the use of personal headphones and music is allowed. This is a great way to keep calm and pass the time while in the chair.  We provide Boise headphones and access to commercial free Pandora Radio for our patients.
  • Taking Breaks:
    Let us know if you would like to take a short break during your treatment by signaling with your left hand.

Oral health is important for the health of your whole body. Don’t let fear stand in your way of good dental care! We can help you get the care that you need. Call Today to Make an Appointment. Corvallis Office Phone Number 541-768-0419

What is Sedation?

Sedation can make practically all dental and oral surgical procedures more pleasant and safer for the apprehensive patient. The anxiety that many people experience during a procedure can be controlled by administering sedative medications. A sedated patient will not only be more relaxed but may also have limited memory of the procedure performed. In some instances the patient may also receive additional medications which will place the patient deeply asleep in a state of general anesthesia. Sedation is different from local anesthesia. Although some forms of sedation (such as nitrous oxide inhalation) may raise your threshold for pain, a local anesthetic (such as Lidocaine) is also required to block the pain sensations during the procedure and to keep the mouth numb and comfortable during recovery.

Levels of Sedation

The levels of sedation ranges from minimal, to moderate, to deep sedation / general anesthesia and are achieved through the different types and amounts of sedative medication used.

Minimal sedation (Anxiolysis) means a minimally depressed level of consciousness, produced by non-intravenous methods, that retains the patient’s ability to independently and continuously maintain an airway (breath) and respond normally to tactile stimulation and verbal command. The most common approaches used to obtain minimal sedation included inhalation of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or a single dose of a sedative medication given orally (a pill or liquid form). The maximum dose of the oral sedative medication that is given is no more than the maximum recommended dose (MRD) of the drug that can be prescribed for unmonitored home use. The reason for this is that oral medications take time to work and can buildup in your system when multiple doses are given over time. Excessive doses or multiple doses given over time, that exceed the maximum recommended dose (MRD), limit how safely you can be sedated.

Moderate sedation (Conscious sedation) means a moderate depressed level of consciousness in which a patient is able to maintain a patent airway (breath independently), maintain their protective airway reflexes, and respond purposefully to verbal commands and light tactile stimulation. Patients with this level of sedation often have minimal to no memory of the procedure due to the amnesia effects of the medication and many patients feel that they were asleep. Patients under moderate (conscious) sedation will often close their eyes and sleep during the procedure due to the relaxing effects of the medications being administered. What this means is that patients are able to respond to verbal commands (like “open your mouth” and “turn your head”) and light stimulation (like gentle shaking of the shoulder).

Deep sedation / General Anesthesia is a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function (breath) is often impaired. Patients often require assistance in maintaining a patent airway, and positive pressure ventilation may be required because of depressed spontaneous ventilation. Cardiovascular function may also be impaired.

How is the Medication Administered

Sedative medications can be administered by breathing (nitrous oxide – laughing gas), orally (in liquid or pill form), intranasal, intramuscular (IM) or intravenously (IV). Nitrous oxide is the most common agent used to treat apprehensive patients and can be used either by itself or in combination with other medications.