Sedation Dentistry

Visiting the dentist doesn't have to be stressful, yet for many people it can cause anxiety, apprehension or fear.  Even if you are someone who typically "hates the dentist" we want to work with you to ensure your comfort and relaxation in our office.    

If you are anxious about seeing the dentist, sedation dentistry can make a world of difference for you.  Dr. Barnes has extensive experience treating nervous patients, is gentle and mindful of your comfort, and is trained and licensed in sedation dentistry techniques.

Sedation dentistry can also be helpful for people who have a severe gag reflex, expect to undergo prolonged dental procedures, or have a history of jaw-joint (TMJ) disorders.  Contact us today to schedule your consult to determine if you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry:

FAQs About Sedation

What is "sedation dentistry?" 
Sedation dentistry can use medication (a sedative drug), nitrous oxide gas or both to help relieve anxiety and relax patients during dental treatment.  The term "sedation dentistry" can refer to a spectrum of treatment that ranges from minimal sedation (anxiolysis) all the way to general anesthesia.  Dr. Barnes restricts her practice to use of nitrous gas to achieve a level of "minimal sedation" in her patients.​
Is nitrous sedation dentistry safe?  
Yes, nitrous sedation dentistry is generally a very safe procedure but it is not without risks.  Dr. Barnes will thoroughly evaluate your medical history and perform a brief exam to determine if you are a good candidate for nitrous sedation dentistry.  It is crucial that you provide a complete list of any medications or supplements you may be taking.  She will discuss ways to help mitigate the associated risks of sedation.  We will also monitor your vital signs (blood oxygen level, blood pressure, and heart rate) and responsiveness throughout the entire procedure to ensure your safety.  

Is sedation dentistry "sleep dentistry?"
No. Even though it is sometimes incorrectly called sleep dentistry, the goal of sedation dentistry is to relax the patient, not put them to sleep.  Having said that, many patients are so comfortable when sedated that they do sometimes fall asleep.
What does sedation feel like?
Dr. Barnes's goal is to help you feel calm and relaxed during your treatment.  You will be able to hear and respond to what is said to you, and also be able to follow directions.  You may feel sleepy and your coordination might be affected.  During the procedure, we will look for feedback from you on how you are feeling so we can ensure you have a positive experience.
Can I drive myself home after my dental appointment?
When nitrous oxide gas is used by itself (not in combination with an oral medication) most patients can drive, feel alert and function normally again after a period of a few minutes.
Is everyone a candidate for sedation?
​Ensuring your safety is our first and foremost concern.  Some health conditions, medications or behavioral issues may be contraindications for sedation dentistry.  It is critical that you share your honest and full medical history with Dr. Barnes prior to the procedure and it is important to follow all instructions.  
Will Dr. Barnes still need to use a needle before treatment?
Although nitrous gas can increase your pain threshold, minimal sedation by itself does not prevent you from feeling pain; in most cases, it will still be necessary to use a needle to deliver local anesthetics to the treatment area.  However, most sedation patients are relaxed enough that they are not bothered by the injection and may not even remember it afterwards.