WHY SEDATION DENTISTRY HAS BEEN A HUGE HIT AT HAGERSTOWN SMILES
Even as recently as a generation ago, most dental practices didn’t focus much on patient experience. Dentistry is essential and necessary, the thinking went, and if it was a little uncomfortable for patients, so be it. Sure, you’d get some Novocain before a filling to ensure you didn’t faint from pain, but that was about it. The idea that a dentist’s job was just as much about making patients feel welcome as it was about doing great work hadn’t yet taken root.
Luckily that’s no longer the prevailing attitude from dentists, and it’s certainly not the way we do things
at Hagerstown Smiles Dental Care. Since opening our doors, we’ve always looked for ways to improve how our patients feel about coming to the dentist. However that doesn’t mean we’re trying to create a world where everybody views the dentist as a fun and enjoyable experience. In fact, one of our greatest successes in recent years has come from the acknowledgment that the dentist is scary and anxiety-inducing for some people. By focusing on sedation options, we’ve been able to make cleanings and treatments less stressful for existing patients and encourage new patients to get the care they need with greater comfort.
Sedation dentistry is becoming increasingly popular as a way to create a more relaxed experience for patients who have trepidation about getting in the chair. At Hagerstown Smiles, we offer three different sedation methods. The first is the tried-and-true nitrous oxide (laughing gas) that’s been used for decades. It’s a very light form of sedation, but it’s effective for many patients. We also offer medication that patients can take the night before an appointment to decrease anxiety on the day of treatment.
The most advanced form of sedation, and one that Dr. Brandon and I have been specially trained to administer, is called oral sedation. For this type of sedation, a patient takes medication both the evening before and one hour before their scheduled treatment. The medication allows you to be conscious and responsive during any procedure, but you’ll have little memory of the treatment after it’s complete. The medication also makes it feel like time is passing very quickly, allowing you to sit for long sessions without even realizing it. We’ve even had patients say, “How’d you get so much done in a few minutes?” when they’ve actually been sitting in the chair for well over an hour.
In addition to helping patients overcome their fears of the dentist, sedation is a great option for those who want to receive a lot of treatment in one session. Our lives are busier than ever, making it hard to get away for three or four dental visits in a short period of time. Sedation allows us to condense the treatment program, which many patients have welcomed.
Many of our existing patients have taken advantage of sedation options, but what’s even more significant is the number of new patients who have asked about it. Patients are seeking us out specifically because we offer these options. Many of them wouldn’t have gotten dental care otherwise. Being able to provide more people with the benefits of great oral health is truly a blessing.
Sedation dentistry is just one of the many ways we strive to create the best possible experience for our patients. Is everybody going to love the dentist all of a sudden? Of course not, but visiting shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. If you have questions about sedation options, don’t hesitate to call our office today! -Dr. Brandy Behrens