Sedation Dentistry

Helping Anxious Or Fearful Patients Cope

For those individuals who are nervous or even fearful of dental treatment, there are a variety of helpful aids and/or methods Dr. Mahlin offers to help reduce anxiety:

·         Finding the right, compassionate healthcare provider. This is important for everyone, but all the more so for individuals who are particularly anxious.  Dr. Mahlin listens carefully to you in an accepting and non-judgmental way, and offers assurances that you are in control of the situation at all times.

·         Oral sedation. This refers to taking prescribed medication an hour or so before a dental appointment for a calming effect. Oral sedatives can be taken with or without the use of nitrous oxide and local anesthesia.

·         IV or intravenous (“intra” – inside; “venous” – vein) sedation. This is the next level of sedation administered if oral sedation is not enough to facilitate needed dental treatment. In this case, the sedative medication is delivered through a small needle or catheter placed in a vein.

·         IV sedation is similar to the method for drawing blood that was first introduced around 1930 in both the United States and England. The intravenous administration of the sedative Pentothal was pioneered at the Mayo Clinic in 1935. This soon became the most popular drug for IV sedation, and marked the beginning of its use in dental care. Pentothal is a short-acting barbiturate drug; it has fallen into disuse as better, quicker-acting, and safer IV drugs have been developed.

·         Today, IV sedation in dentistry allows a way to provide dental care for the many patients who otherwise would not be able to receive necessary treatment. This includes the estimated 15% of the population who avoid dental care completely due to acute anxiety, and as much as 50% of the population who admit to some level of fear and apprehension when it comes to dental treatment. It also includes those patients who have medical conditions that make it necessary to reduce the level of stress during dental treatment.

·         IV (Conscious) Sedation v. General Anesthesia: A Big Difference

·         Those who are considering IV sedation — also known as conscious sedation — for their dental care need to understand that there is a significant difference between it and general anesthesia (unconscious sedation). During general anesthesia, you are completely asleep and cannot be aroused — not even by painful stimulation. General anesthesia requires additional support for breathing, and can alter heart rate and other life-support functions. General anesthesia therefore requires an anesthesiologist to monitor all vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse. The anesthesiologist will also make sure that the airway is protected and that the back of the mouth is sealed to prevent anything from going down into the throat or lungs, since the protective cough reflex is not operative during general anesthesia. In other words, it’s a more risky business.

During IV (conscious) sedation, however, you are not “asleep” but rather in a much safer and more comfortable “semi-awake” state of reduced anxiety. You will most likely have little or no memory of the dental procedures that were performed because of the amnesic affect of the medications used to provide the sedation. During IV sedation, you are able to respond to verbal commands, or to a light physical touch. You need no medical assistance to maintain adequate breathing and heart function.


Read what people are saying about us.

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Everyone at the practice is super friendly, starting from the front desk to Dr. Mahlin. I normally get the first appointment in the morning and I have never had to wait. I have been going to them for probably 20 years and have never had an issue that isn't promptly resolved. Last time I had my crown done, Dr. Mahlin even gave me his mobile number in case of an issue. I'll definitely recommend them.

Sanjiv Bhatia

Dr. Mahlin and his staff are absolutely wonderful! His bedside manner is among the best, if not the best, when it comes to compassionate, patient-centered care. He even called me after I had a new crown placed just to see how I was doing. He's thoughtful, gentle (both as a person and as a dentist), and most importantly is excellent at dentistry! His staff couldn't be friendlier or more accomodating and I have never had a long wait in the waiting room. I would give him 10 stars if this rating scale allowed it!

Gregory Polites

Kim, my hygienist, is the best, she has a passion for insuring she does her best to ensure patient comfort and that I will leave with the cleanest teeth and gums as well as a plan for addressing potential issues! Dr. Mahlin is very professional in his final inspection and verification of any of Kim's findings while performing the cleaning. An added bonus that Dr. Mahlin provides is a follow up call in the evening to ensure that your experience that day for treatment has gone as expected and there aren't any abnormalities. Very Caring person!

John Helbing

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Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI and Clarkson Dental Group, serving West St. Louis County area in Chesterfield, MO Disclaimer: This website is provided for information and education purposes only.  No doctor/patient relationship is established by your use of this website.  No dentistry diagnosis or treatment is being provided.  The information contained here should be used in consultation with a dentist of your choice.  No guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within the website.  This website is not intended to offer specific medical or dental advice to anyone.  Further, this web site and Dr. Scott Mahlin, DDS, FAGD, FICOI take no responsibility for web sites hyperlinked to this site and such hyperlinking does not imply any relationships or endorsements. Please contact us with any concerns.


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