A negative dental experience often sticks in your memory and can cause a person to avoid the dentist for years. This is a common issue for many, which is why we have gone to great lengths to change and improve the overall dental experience at Natural Dentist Associates.
We are committed to helping our patients feel comfortable so they can get the care they need without stress, anxiety, or fear. From kind, calm, and caring staff, to blankets and warm neck rolls, every aspect of our soothing dental office was designed with tranquility and relaxation in mind. By offering multiple dental sedation options, we provide a level of sedation for every person and every dental procedure. From teeth cleaning to dental implant surgery, sedation dentistry offers a way to calm the nerves and provide a pleasant dental experience.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Dental sedation is a pain blocking method used to help achieve full relaxation during a dental procedure. Through anesthesia and sedation options, your dentist will take great care to make sure you do not experience any serious pain or discomfort during dental treatment.
Many dental procedures are performed under local anesthesia to numb the area, though, sedation is often a necessary addition for the patient to remain calm, comfortable, and relaxed during dental treatment.
When people fear the dentist or experience anxiety or nervousness surrounding dental appointments, they experience increased cortisol and adrenaline levels. The hormonal increases cause elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and a general fight or flight response. These systemic challenges can increase the chance of someone having a dental emergency, such as a heart attack, stroke, asthma attack, allergic reactions, and many other medical problems. A patient being comfortable during a dental procedure increases the success rate of the procedure and decreases the risk of possible complications.
Who Will Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
- Patients with High Blood Pressure or Heart Issues
- Patients with Adrenal Fatigue
- Patients who suffer from Dental Anxiety
- Patients with uncontrollable Gagging or Gag Reflex
- Patients with Special Needs
- Patients who need Extensive Dental Treatment and/or Long Dental Procedures
- Patients who have Difficulty Getting Numb
- Patients who have a Phobia of Dental Sounds and/or Smells
- Patients with Severe Teeth Sensitivity
- Patients who have Difficulty Healing After Dental Treatment
What Factors Determine a Patient’s Sedation Options
- Current and past medical history
- Length of the procedure
- Personal pain threshold
- Dental anxiety/nervousness
What Are the Different Kinds of Dental Sedation?
At Natural Dentist Associates in Rockville, MD, we offer several sedation options, ranging from minimal to moderate. The best way to determine which option is best for you is by scheduling a Sedation Consultation with our Sedation Dentist.
We currently offer the following Sedation Dentistry options:
Your dentist may apply a topical anesthetic to numb the surface area prior to injecting a local anesthetic. Local anesthesia is an injection of medication, used to prevent pain in the area where dental treatment is needed by blocking nerves that sense or transmit pain. This injection numbs your mouth tissues, preventing you from feeling pain, while remaining completely conscious and aware throughout the procedure.
You inhale nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax throughout the procedure. Your dentist has full control over the amount of nitrous oxide sedation you receive during the appointment. Laughing Gas is a popular sedation option because it has a fast application but also wears off quickly, and (in most cases) allows the patient to drive home on their own. Once Nitrous Oxide wears off, the patient is completely conscious and aware, much like waking up from a nap.
Due to it’s ability to combat dental anxiety and chronic pain, medical cannabis is a great sedation option for dental treatment. Once you have applied for your Maryland Medical Cannabis Card, you can schedule a consultation with one of our MMCC doctors to determine your eligibility for Medical Cannabis. With a doctor’s recommendation, you will be able to visit any Maryland Cannabis Dispensary to make a purchase. Medical Cannabis allows you to stay fully conscious, while helping you stay calm and relaxed during dental treatment.
Oral sedation is typically administered by swallowing a pill and works well for patients who desire a lower dose of Dental Sedation. Because driving is prohibited while taking sedatives, you will need a ride to and from your appointment. Additionally, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the dental appointment.
Once taken, the oral sedatives take an average of about 45 minutes to “kick in.” Once you are comfortably sedated, your sedation dentist and staff will monitor your vital signs closely throughout the appointment. When your dental treatment is completed, you will be “woken up,” and begin roughly 30 minutes of recovery as the sedatives begin to wear off. Oral Sedation Dentistry does not involve an IV, and does not put the patient to sleep. The patient will remain awake, but in a completely relaxed state. This type of sedation creates a pleasant dental treatment experience.
Full IV Sedation
IV Sedation can only be done by dentist who has been Certified by the Maryland Board for Sedation. Our sedation dentist, Dr. Kimberly Baer, has completed rigorous training in the areas of medicine, anesthesiology, emergency training and patient drug management. IV Sedation is our method of choice due to the high level of effectiveness and safety. Like oral sedation, you will need a ride to and from your appointment and will not be able to eat for 8 hours prior.
At the start of the appointment, Dr. Baer may administer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or an oral sedative to relax you prior to placing the IV. Once the IV is inserted, the IV drugs are administered in small amounts until the desired amount of sedation is achieved. Vital signs are continuously monitored throughout the IV Sedation appointment. Once the dental treatment is completed, you will be woken up and begin your recovery process. The patient is typically able to leave with a caretaker after 30 minutes of in-office recovery time. A wheelchair is provided to help you to the car following surgery. IV Sedation provides immediate results, and the dose can be altered at anytime during the appointment. IV Sedation is the ideal option for patients who experience extreme anxiety or fear of the dentist, as well as any patient who wants ultimate relaxation during their dental treatment.
Meet Our Sedation Dentist
DR. KIMBERLY BAER
“We promise to be with you throughout your Sedation experience to ensure your comfort, safety, and success.”
Dr. Kimberly Baer is a Maryland native, receiving both her Undergraduate in Biology and Doctoral in Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland, College Park. Since then, she has earned Master’s degrees in Implantology, Biological Medicine & Toxicology, and Orthodontics. Dr. Baer is board certified in Naturopathic Medicine, Sedation Dentistry, Invisalign, and Lumineers. In 2001 Dr. Baer opened the doors to Natural Dentist Associates in North Bethesda, MD.
In addition to her degrees, Dr. Baer has received certifications in a multitude of areas, including Hal Huggins Biological Dentistry and Epigenetic Growth Appliance Therapy. She is a certified fellow with the IAOMT and continues to expand her education through regular seminars, conferences, and continued education courses.
Dr. Baer is extremely passionate about providing quality dental care that does not come at the expense of overall health, offering her patients a dental experience that is free from toxins, BPA, fragrances, and fluoride. Dr. Baer’s areas of expertise include holistic services like ozone therapy, safe amalgam filling removal, dental materials testing, natural orthodontics, laser dentistry, sedation dentistry, and non-metal zirconia dental implants. She built her holistic dental practice with a strong emphasis on non-reactive and bio-friendly materials, always staying current with the newest dental innovations – especially those that emphasize biocompatibility.
Sedation Dentistry FAQs
What Types of Dental Sedation Are Available?
We offer local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), medical cannabis, oral sedation, and IV sedation. There is a sedation option for every patient to make your dental visit not only tolerable, but pleasant.
What Dental Procedures Can Be Done Under Sedation?
At Natural Dentist Associates, we can (and do) perform all of our regular dental procedures under dental sedation, including basic dental cleaning and check-up.
Does Dental Sedation Hurt?
No. You will be Sedated and you will likely remember very little of the experience.
Does Insurance Pay for Sedation?
Insurance will cover Dental Procedures under sedation the same as if the patient were not sedated. Our patients sometimes find that the time saved in coming to our office once, instead of coming for multiple visits, makes the extra cost worth it.
Can All Dentists Administer Sedative Drugs?
No. In the state of Maryland, as in most states, Sedation Dentists must meet stringent criteria mandated by the State’s Board of Dental Examiners. Most Dentists Certified for IV Sedation Dentistry are Dental Surgeons. Dentists who wish to perform Sedation Dentistry must first pass a special residency program in which they work closely with dental anesthesiologists. The Dentist must also pass a rigorous Oral Exam and inspection of his/her office for IV Sedation.
Will I Be Groggy After My Sedation Treatment is Over?
Yes, but you will feel just fine. For your safety, we require that you have a family member or friend drive you home. Also, you should not make any big decisions or legal decisions for 24 hours following your procedure.
Will I Remember Anything?
At the end of the treatment, you will have little to no memory of your visit.
Will I be Totally Relaxed During My Sedation Dentistry Appointment?
You will receive just the right amount of sedatives so that you’ll be completely unaware of the treatment as if you were asleep. Some patients feel like they were put to sleep.
Can Any Dentist do Sedation Dentistry or be a Sedation Dentist?
No. Sedation is something that requires special training above being a dentist. A Sedation Dentist needs to be Certified by the Maryland Board for Sedation in order to do Sedation in a Dental Office. There are different levels of sedation including Mild, Moderate, Deep and General Sedation. Forms of Mild Dental Anesthesia Include NO2 or laughing gas or pill. Most Dentists can easily get training for Mild Sedation. All other forms of Sedation are normally done with an IV and require rigorous training in the areas of medicine, anesthesiology, emergency training and patient drug management.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
In short, yes. When people are scared of the dentist, they experience increased cortisol and adrenaline levels. The hormonal increases cause elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and a general flight or flight response. These systemic challenges can increase the chances of someone having a dental emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, asthma attack, allergic reaction and many other medical problems. Also, a patient who is more comfortable is easier for the dentist to work on and there is a decreased risk for someone to get cut or hurt during a dental procedure. In reality, sedation dentistry can be safer than dentistry without sedation.