Hi everybody, it’s Dr. Kate, and I wanted to talk to you about one of the things that I do in my practice that I feel benefits patients and the dental team the most...and that is sedation for patients. It could be for fearful patients, special needs, or patients who may be a little cognitively affected with dementia or Alzheimer's. Basically people who may be really difficult to work on normally. In my office at New Horizons Dental Care, we offer everything from sedation with just really light nitrous oxide or laughing gas as it’s commonly know, all the way up to IV sedation. The reason I do that is because everybody's a little different. Everybody's fear is a little different, too, and I really enjoy being able to have that variance and that ability to work with a patient and get them to a level of comfort that allows them to remove the impediments to treatments that they had before. Of course when we’re talking about sedation fear there's always going to be a little bit of discomfort and you have to be okay with talking and asking questions and delving a little bit deeper. So I kind of like to think that this is my time to put on my psychologist hat and to really ask them what's the reason that things have been holding them back from taking care of their dental care. A lot of times you get that big burly farmer guy - I mean I do live in Kansas - and he won't really want to talk about the fact that he's scared or he's been hurt as a child at the dentist or even just rationally they just don't like people in their face. A lot of times it's hard for people to talk about that but if you refuse to accept that and you keep asking questions most of the time they will start to talk to you about that. If you can't get them to open up about that fear that they've had, sometimes for their whole life, sometimes preventing them from ever being able to do anything in dentistry, you can become their trusted advocate and advisor. You can become so much more than their dentist and you can change that perception that they have about dental care - then make a raving fan out of them! I have so many dental patients who I've taken through sedation and was able to get comfortable. I’ve been able to get them happy and proud of their smile again. I’m telling you those are the people that leave and tell their friends and before you know it you have a great sedation patient base that then hopefully you can start to get that trust and ween them away from sedation and have them just be great patients.
But talking about the sedation, I started out first with the nitrous oxide. It's very easy to get certified. My team does the majority of that. It makes you just feel kind of floaty and they can drive to and from the appointments. The second bit is kind of a one-hit kind of wonder where they take a medication just about an hour before the appointment. You do have to have a driver in and out and they feel a lot more comfortable. That's for a little deeper seeded fear. Then you go into more training obviously it’s well worth it and there's a lot of great companies out there to help you. I particularly went to DOCS: Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, and they trained me on oral sedation with benzodiazepines combining those medications together, as well as combining those medications with nitrous oxide and that brings your patient to a deeper level. It also allows you to incrementally dose them so if they show up at your office and they're just not where they need to be, you can continue to give them medication until they are sleeping or until they are very comfortable, making it possible for you to do a lot more work on them. Then lastly, IV Sedation. I am not certified for that. I bring in a nurse anesthetist. it is a happy, wonderful day because the patients are sleeping and they are completely comfortable. There's no compliance issues, we can do whatever we need to. My nurse anesthetist takes care of all of their medical and sedation needs, while I take care of just the dental part. It’s a great teamwork kind of experience. I do a ton of work that day on children, very young children, behaviorally compromised children, special needs adults, and your very high-fear patients so it is a productive day that would have never been able to be accomplished otherwise. I love it, too, because some of those very young kids in the past I would have had to refer to a pediatric dentist. I live in Salina, Kansas which is a smaller community and we don't have a pediatric dentist within 90 minutes of us. So, to be able to provide that service here in town without having to travel is a huge benefit to patients and to parents. I really like being able to have that service here in my office. And it goes for adults and special needs patients to. I mean there's always somebody there that is going to have to transport them. It’s really nice to be able to do that within your community or in close proximity.
I just want to really tell you that my heart is there with sedation dentistry. I definitely like to delve into the fear and sometimes the shame they have - I think that it really sets you up to be able to be something so much more than just a dentist. So, if you haven't provided this service for patients, trust me when I say to you that there's a large percentage of people out there that need this and so if you go and invest in your training you will find these patients come to you and word-of-mouth will spread and it can be very profitable as well. There's so many benefits for both patient and for the provider. Look into it, check it out and let me know if you have any questions or concerns or any more questions about training. I’m happy to answer those. This is just an issue near and dear to my heart. This is Dr. Kate and it was good talking to you today.
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