FAQ: Asleep Services & Sedation Dentistry

Asleep (sedation options)

I knew that my life depended on finding a dentist like Dr. Blende.— Elizabeth

Has it been years since you have seen your dentist?
If it’s been years since your last trip to the dentist, your circumstances may be preventing you from receiving proper dental care. Challenges to receiving dental care can include phobias and/or physical, medical or cognitive challenges. Here is a detailed list of medical conditions and special needs we can help. The Blende Dental Group is a practice that is dedicated to serving people like you.

We are a team of medical dentists. We have experience and training in hospital settings and have successfully treated a diverse range of individuals with complex needs over the past 40 years.

The Blende Dental Group works with each individual to determine the most appropriate sedation approach. For those who need to be asleep, we offer options both in our office and at the hospital. We provide oral medications, inhalation agents, I.V. sedation, and general anesthesia for those with mild to severe anxiety, or those who cannot physically, medically, or cognitively tolerate dentistry.

Our multi-disciplinary approach to managing the complexities of treating patients with special needs includes physician anesthesiologists, medical doctors and leading dental specialists who deliver care in our office suite or in local hospital settings on a daily basis.

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Q: What is Sedation Dentistry?
A: Sedation Dentistry is defined as dental treatment combined with any anesthesia modality. It involves a range of sedation, from fully awake and alert to asleep and unaware. We will work with you to determine the best approach for you and your situation.

Q: What is the difference between conscious sedation and other forms of sedation?
A: Conscious sedation typically involves inhaled nitrous oxide (“laughing”) gas or pills taken by mouth, which can cause relaxation and drowsiness, but not full sleep. Other forms of sedation involve the use of I.V. modalities and/or general anesthesia, which allow patients to be asleep.  You have the opportunity to receive your treatment with no pain, no smells, no sounds, no sensation, and no memory of the procedure.

Q: What types of anesthesia do you offer?
A: We are one of only a handful of dental groups in the nation offering the complete array of sedation options, including:
• Oral conscious sedation (pills)
• Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
• I.V. sedation (intravenious)
• General anesthesia
General anesthesia can be delivered in our office by our anesthesiologists, as well as at any one of eight Bay Area hospitals, where we are on staff.

Q: Which sedation option is right for me?
A: The Blende Dental Group designs a course of treatment that is specific to each patient’s medical, emotional and safety needs. Many dentists offer a few sedation options, such as oral medications and/or nitrous oxide, to reduce fear. While these methods work well for some patients, they can be insufficient for those who are unable to physically or behaviorally tolerate dental treatment or want to be completely unaware of the procedure. In addition, patients who are medically compromised could be placed at risk if they are not treated in a facility with the appropriate medical personnel or if the dental team does not have the experience to deal with coexisting medical conditions. For these patients, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia are safer options. The Blende Dental Group works with each patient individually to determine the most appropriate sedation approach.

Q: Is general anesthesia safe?
A: General anesthesia is the most uniformly dependable of all modes of sedation because it enables medication to be accurately dosed and a patient’s response to be accurately monitored.

Q: Who administers the I.V. sedation or general anesthesia?
A: At the Blende Dental Group, an experienced anesthesiologist – not the dentist – administers I.V. sedation and/or general anesthesia. This safeguard sets us apart and allows our dental specialists to focus solely on the dentistry.  Since we treat medically at-risk patients, it is our responsibility to provide the greatest level of safety for everyone involved.

Q: How long is the recovery from I.V. sedation or general anesthesia?
A: Since dental procedures can be minimally invasive, the ability to keep the level of anesthesia light but still effective is critical in planning the case with the anesthesiologist. Often, recovery is a matter of minutes. Nevertheless, we advise that patients go home and rest for the remainder of the day following their procedure. Most people will resume their normal activities the following day. Patients who are medically compromised or have certain disabilities may be advised to spend one night in the hospital to monitor their health and ensure a comfortable recovery.

Q: Will I need to have a ride home?
A: If you have nitrous oxide, you may drive yourself home. However, if you have treatment using oral conscious sedation, I.V. sedation or general anesthesia, you will need to have a designated person drive you home.

Q: If I haven’t been to the dentist for many years, how many appointments will I need?
A: It is possible to have your mouth fully restored in one or two visits while you are asleep and with no pain. Contact us to find out if this method is right for you.

Q: I don’t want to come to your office alone. May I bring someone with me?
A: Of course. We encourage you to bring a reassuring companion, spouse or parent to your consultation and/or for your treatment appointment.

Q: What dental specialists are part of your team approach?
A: The Blende Dental Group team consists of general dentists, endodontists (who specialize in performing root canals), periodontists (gum and tissues), oral surgeons (bone and supporting tooth structures), and pediatric dentists (serving children).  We coordinate all the specialists for you, all working in concert while you sleep.

Q: While researching dentists using general anesthesia, I’ve found that the few other places that do offer it are usually dental schools. How does treatment at the Blende Dental Group differ from treatment at dental schools?
A: Dental schools are academic institutions, therefore students with limited clinical experience are providing the majority of the care under an instructor’s supervision.  Most have a waiting list that is several months long.  At The Blende Dental Group, we remove those barriers and can accommodate those who require same-day service.

Q: Does one need to overcome fear, anxiety or phobia to receive dental treatment?
A: Many people are fearful of the dentist. In fact, 1 in 7 have a dental phobia.  If you are afraid at any level, you can still receive dental treatment in a way that feels comfortable to you. Our practice has a 40-year reputation in the field. We use many techniques, including sedation dentistry, to help those who are fearful receive the dental care they need. With sedation dentistry, you don’t have to avoid dental care, or build up the courage to face it, because you can rest and/or sleep through it. No matter how severe, you do not need to overcome your fear to receive dental treatment.

Awake Services FAQ
Asleep Services FAQ
At Home Services FAQ
Emergency Services FAQ

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