Dr. Mark Sweeney, a cosmetic dentist at Austin Dental Spa, explains the advantages of sedation dentistry, which can help relax patients who are afraid of the dentist.
Austin, TX – As an Austin cosmetic dentist with over four decades in practice, Dr. Mark Sweeney has encountered numerous patients who suffer from dental anxiety. In fact, this condition affects approximately 30 million Americans at varying levels of severity. “The term ‘dental anxiety’ can describe any amount of fear that makes a patient hesitant to go to the dentist,” says Dr. Sweeney. He explains that dental anxiety can be triggered by a fear of needles or intense sounds, an overactive gag reflex, negative experiences in the past, and various other phenomena. He also adds that, unfortunately, dental anxiety often discourages patients from getting the oral health care they need.
Because dental phobia is such a widespread issue, many leading dentists – including Dr. Sweeney – choose to employ sedation dentistry techniques. At Austin Dental Spa, Dr. Sweeney and his team offer three sedation dentistry methods, which they can administer at customized intensity levels:
- Nitrous oxide. Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is regularly utilized to combat mild dental anxiety. To administer nitrous oxide, the dentist places an oxygen mask on top of a patient’s nose, prompting them to gradually relax. “Nitrous oxide can raise a patient’s pain threshold, reduce their tendency to gag, and ease anxiety throughout their treatment,” states Dr. Sweeney, adding that most patients are able to drive themselves home shortly after the effects of nitrous oxide fade.
- Oral-conscious sedation. “Oral-conscious sedation can help patients experiencing a somewhat higher level of anxiety,” says Dr. Sweeney. He explains that oral-conscious sedation – sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry” – simply requires the patient to take a pill an hour before their procedure. “In combination with nitrous oxide, the pill should either put the patient in a very calm state or allow them to sleep through the appointment,” Dr. Sweeney continues. “Oral-conscious sedation can make multiple or more lengthy treatments, such as a full mouth rehabilitation, feel as though they are going by much more quickly.”
- I.V. (intravenous) sedation. “I.V. sedation can be an excellent option for patients with more severe dental anxiety,” says Dr. Sweeney, noting that this technique is also commonly used during more intensive procedures. He explains that to administer this type of sedation, Austin Dental Spa enlists the help of a professional dental anesthesiologist, who uses an I.V. to put the patient into a deep, tranquil sleep. “While the patient is under, we closely monitor their vitals,” Dr. Sweeney adds. “For safety purposes, we typically recommend patients secure a ride home after being sedated.”
According to Dr. Sweeney, he and his team at Austin Dental Spa use sedation dentistry to create a soothing environment for patients. “By doing so, we aim to allow patients to get the care they need,” he concludes. “We always strive to keep our patients safe and comfortable throughout their entire visit.”
About Mark Sweeney, DDS
Known for his welcoming chairside manner and exceptional results in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Mark Sweeney is a proud alumnus of the University of Texas. He is a founder of the Texas Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Endodontic Society, among other organizations. In the interest of providing his patients with unbeatable comprehensive care, he regularly attends continuing education courses and utilizes state-of-the-art dental technology at Austin Dental Spa. Dr. Sweeney is available for interview upon request.
To learn more about Austin Dental Spa, visit austindentalspa.com, facebook.com/austindentalspa, and @austindentalspa on Instagram.
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3305 Northland Dr., Suite 515
Austin, TX 78731