Will sedation dentistry make me unconscious?

2016.08.26

Hi. To say I am nervous at dental appointments is an understatement. I don’t think I can get through another appointment without something to reduce the level of my anxiety. I have read good things about sedation dentistry, but the thought of getting it and not knowing what is going on around me is scary. Do I really have to be unconscious? Something about being unconscious at a dental office doesn’t sound right or safe to me. My co-workers and I were talking about this at lunch yesterday. One of them said that you’re not really unconscious when you get sedation dentistry. Is that true? What’s really involved? Thanks. Dwayne R.

Dwayne – Your workmate is correct. Unlike general anesthesia, which makes you completely unconscious, sedation dentistry only sedates you. Depending on the type of sedation they receive, some patients actually fall asleep when it is administered. Lower levels of sedation can simply relax you.

Sedation dentistry is safe. In advance of your appointment, your medical history is reviewed to find out if you are a candidate for it. If you qualify to receive it, you are not left alone in the treatment room. Your vital signs are monitored throughout our appointment.

You can schedule a consultation with a sedation dentist to find out what levels are offered. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation (anti-anxiety medication), and IV sedation are available, but not all dentists offer all three levels.

A consultation gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get details about the procedure. The more information you have, the greater your comfort level will be for actually receiving it.

If you receive sedation, it will improve your ability to relax during your appointment and improve the productivity of your dental appointment. Some patients find that in the long-term, they are less anxious about dental appointments overall. Wouldn’t it be great if that proved true in your case, too?

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Can porcelain veneers be placed over old composite?

2016.08.11

I have 2 teeth that have a lot composite in them. I lost part of each tooth in an accident. I don’t like the way the composite wears over time and it never really matched my teeth, so I asked my dentist about veneers. He said that crowns will be better. I really want veneers and I am thinking about switching dentists to get it done. Can I get veneers over the composite? Thanks. Stephanie M.

Stephanie – The answer for whether or not porcelain veneers should be used over composite depends on each individual’s case.

You mentioned that you have a lot of composite in your teeth. If a tooth is at least half composite, it can break. Placing a porcelain crown over the tooth, instead of putting veneers on it will protect it from breaking off. The crown will also protect the tooth from decay.

The location of the composite is also a consideration in determining the most effective treatment. If the composite is on the front of each tooth, then trimming the composite and placing porcelain veneers on your teeth can produce excellent results.

You are considering the possibility of going to another dentist, so consider getting a second opinion from an experienced cosmetic dentist—if possible, an accredited cosmetic dentist. He or she will be able to determine which treatment is best for your case. Also, a skilled cosmetic dentist can perfectly blend and manipulate composite to match the translucence, color, and characteristics of your natural teeth. An experienced cosmetic dentist will be produce beautiful results with replacing the composite, or providing you with porcelain crowns or porcelain veneers.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.