If you’re reading this, you get it. The old way of dentistry just doesn’t cut it. At a dental office, every patient can agree on the same three basic needs for the process–they want comfortable, efficient, and a great result. If you agree, and who wouldn’t, then you should consider leveraging the powerful tool of sedation dentistry if your dentist recommends a large treatment plan.

So I should back up a minute. This article was born because it is one of the most common questions we receive at my practice. My practice is in the Boston area, and although many patient’s fly across the country for specialty services like sedation dentistry or TMJ treatment, not every patient can.

It’s become a common request for patients in distant areas to email me requesting a recommendation of a sedation dentist in their area. The truth is I can’t honestly answer them. Many times I simply just don’t know the dentists. It’s not because they are good or bad, I’m just not familiar with that particular area. What I can do is provide the tools to help them decide who’s the best sedation dentist. And now, this article will do that for you.

What can Sedation Dentistry do for me?

So before we discuss how to select the best sedation dentist, I want to touch on why you would want to. Sedation dentistry is a tool to make progress easier. Think of it this way, you can walk or you can ride a bicycle to a destination. Either way its the same distance and result, but by using a tool such as a bicycle, it makes the process easier. Sedation dentistry makes the process of dentistry easier. 

By far the most common reason patients seek out a sedation dentist is to make their treatment more comfortable. Maybe they had a series of bad experiences at the dentist in the past, or maybe they have dental anxiety that they can’t explain. Sedation dentistry allows a patient to rest comfortably during procedures. It reduces the sensation of pain, and it even allows you to sleep through a portion of your treatment.

The second reason you need to see a sedation dentist is when you are busy, and in today’s society who isn’t? We’re constantly on the go and our work schedules are often irregular. By completing your dental treatment with sedation it allows the dentist to more efficiently complete your treatment. Instead of repeatedly seeing a dentist for several individual visits in between your work schedule, you can block out a half day and complete several visits worth of treatment comfortably in only one day.

How do I know who’s the Best Sedation Dentist near me?

At last, finding a sedation dentist near you…here’s what you need to know. With so many dentists around, and maybe you’ve had a history of bad experiences, how do you make sure this one is not only a good experience, but a phenomenal one?

Well before I give you the tips, you should know selecting a doctor or dentist is a bit like dating. There’s really no “best.” It’s all about the fit of the doctor-patient relationship, and a little bit of the timing. A dentist may be “the one” for some other patient, but for you, maybe not. If you’ve had some not stellar dental experiences in the past I’m sure you can relate.

Here’s the thing, there may have been some trial and error in your  past, but gosh, when you find the right dentist you will know. What does that look like? You should feel comfortable being yourself, and explaining your goals. You should feel heard and listened to. Conversation should be effortless, calm, and sincere. Just like any relationship trust is built over time, so don’t expect that immediately, but there should be signs of mutual respect and appreciation for comfort. Those are signs you have a good fit.

Top 3 Things To Check When Selecting a Sedation Dentist

Understand the Types of Sedation they Offer

Sedation dentistry is a category with significant variety. You have to understand your goals when selecting a sedation dentist. Some dentists may offer light sedation options to help with mild jitters, and for patients with mild anxiety that might be enough. However, for a patient with significant phobia or who wants to be more asleep during treatment than awake, that may not be the right fit.

The types of sedation offered in dentistry are oral sedation (you take a pill) and IV sedation. Depending on your anxiety level you should research the office based on if they offer oral sedation or the entire spectrum of sedation options include IV sedation. If you are really anxious it might be worth a longer commute to seek out someone more specialized.

Check Credentials

This ones a bit of a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many patients just assume. Often a dental practice may have their website designed by a template software and the sedation dentistry page is added by default. So you should confirm that the practice does have a sedation dentist. Sedation dentistry is regulated by the state dental board. The board verifies that a sedation dentist has completed a program that qualifies them for either mild, moderate, or deep sedation. A quick and sufficient way to check to make sure the practice does sedation routinely is to check the doctor biography section on their website. You should look for terms like board-certified in sedation. If you look at mine as an example, you can see that the bio references numerous programs of sedation dentistry. This would be similar on a dentist who routinely performs sedation dentistry in your area.

Get a Sense of their Personality

Personality is one of the biggest factors of what separate the great healthcare providers from the average. It’s right up there with skill. Communication during your treatment will be a huge factor in how comfortable your feel and the trust you develop for the dentist. The best way to get a sense of personality before meeting the dentist is by word of mouth. If you know someone who has been to the office ask them about their experience. But what happens if you don’t have a reference? Read the doctors articles and blogs. Get a sense of how they write and communicate. Read reviews of the practice on Google. And if that all checks out, call the front desk to schedule an appointment. If the front desk person makes you feel comfortable and takes the time to speak to you kindly on the phone, then you know you’re on the right track.