Sedation dentistry has been used for many years as a way to perform invasive oral procedures while minimizing the pain experienced by patients. However, it’s also recently become a popular option for people who harbor a fear of dentists. For people like this, something as simple as a routine teeth cleaning might require sedation. If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist and it’s keeping you from getting the oral care that you need, sedation dentistry might be a good choice for you.
Picking the right sedation dentist is not as simple as choosing a random name from an internet search. There are some important factors that you need to consider before making a final decision. Here is a look at some of the things you should be thinking about when choosing your own sedation dentist.
While most dentists are qualified to administer light forms of sedation like nitrous oxide, using stronger medications typically requires training and certification. Before you settle on a particular sedation dentist, be sure to check out his or her credentials. Each state has its own dental board that is responsible for certification, so the qualifications to administer sedation may vary from place to place; however, most programs require both classroom instruction and real-world training. Additionally, two national organizations, the Dental Organization for Dental Sedation and the American Dental Association, both offer training programs in sedation dentistry as well.
If possible, also look for a dentist who is committed to continuing his or her education. There are numerous, smaller training programs that help dentists stay on top of the latest trends in sedation, and possessing certifications from these as well is an indicator that you’re working with a person who knows and cares about this sensitive procedure.
The cost of a sedation dentist shouldn’t necessarily be your first concern, but there’s no denying that money still plays a factor in medical care. The best way to approach sedation dentistry from a financial point of view is to choose someone who strikes a good balance between affordability and experience. Obviously, highly skilled dentists who are in-demand will typically charge more than others, but it’s also possible to find someone who can do a good (and safe) job without throwing your finances into chaos. Additionally, if you have insurance you may find that your policy will pay for some or even all of the costs associated with sedation dentistry.
Not all dentists are equally comfortable using sedation on a regular basis in their practices, so be sure to ask about how frequently they utilize it. When you choose a dentist with more sedation experience, there’s less of likelihood that something will go wrong. That’s not to say that dentists who employ sedation less frequently are not adept at the process; it’s simply that those with more experience typically are more prepared to deal with the unexpected.
In addition to finding a dentist who is experienced, certified, and within your price range, it’s also important that you find someone that you’re comfortable around. Being sedated puts you in a very vulnerable position, so you want to choose a dentist that you trust and feel safe with. When looking for a good match, it may be useful to ask for a recommendation from friends or other reliable people who have undergone sedation dentistry themselves. Keep in mind that when looking for a dentist that is personally compatible with you, you’re not looking for a new best friend or significant other—you’re simply looking for someone that puts you at ease with the process.