- Sedation Dentistry -

Can You Really Relax at the Dentist’s Office?

In a recent European study of dental fear and phobia relative to ten other common fears, findings ranked dental fear fourth behind fear of snakes, heights, and severe physical injuries. Among phobias, dental phobia was the most common, followed by height phobia and spider phobia. Fear of dental treatment was more prevalent in women with a severity higher than any other fear included in the study. U.S. statistics estimate 9-15% of Americans suffer from dental phobia, but William S. Darr, DDS offers sedation dentistry.

Why Do People Fear the Dentist?

There are many reasons people fear the dentist. Some have had bad past experiences that affected them enough avoid allowing another dentist the opportunity to repeat that trauma. Some don’t like the thought of being trapped in a chair with machines and people coming at them. Dental fears and phobia are very common, and happen for many different reasons:

Common Dental Fears

  • Embarrassment
  • Loss of control
  • Can’t get numb or feeling numb
  • Pain
  • Bad reaction to anesthetic
  • Sights, sounds and smells
  • The drill
  • Gagging & choking
  • Crying or fearing panic attack
  • Cost

Other Reasons for Feeling Anxious

  • Cost of Treatment
  • Unnecessary Treatment
  • Extensive Treatment
  • Special Needs
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Take a Deep Breath
& Contact Us

Call sedation dentist Dr. William Darr or schedule an appointment online today!

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Sometimes it is called “sleep dentistry”, but that name is not entirely accurate—patients remain generally awake unless under general anesthesia, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. However, some patients do relax enough to fall asleep on their own.

What Can Sedation Dentistry Offer?

  • Patient relaxation
  • Increased patient comfort
  • Ease of care for special needs individuals
  • Fewer appointments will be needed for extensive work
  • Control of patient gag reflex

Sedation Infographic

Click the image above to expand

Sedation Options with William Darr, DDS:

  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Oral Sedation

Inhalation Sedation

Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “nitrous” or “laughing gas”, has been used in dentistry and surgery since about 1844. Nitrous oxide use does not make patients unconscious, but it can be helpful for relaxation in the dentist’s chair, reducing stress and providing some pain relief.

What Should I Know About Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is colorless, odorless gas that is a safe, effective sedative inhaled through a small mask fitting over the nose. Dr. Darr will tell you to breathe deeply, and you’ll begin to feel its effects. People have reported tingling extremities, lightheadedness, or limbs that feel heavy, but ultimately, they become calmer and more comfortable. After the procedure is finished and the mask is removed, Dr. Darr will have you breathe oxygen for a few minutes to clear your head and prevent headache.

Nitrous Oxide Can Also Make You Feel:

  • Euphoric
  • “Like a happy drunk”
  • Relaxed
  • Sleepy (until you breathe oxygen afterward)

Take a Deep Breath
& Contact Us

Call sedation dentist Dr. William Darr or schedule an appointment online today!

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is usually prescribed for anxiety relief for a few hours prior to a dental appointment. The drugs used for oral sedation are usually benzodiazepines or “benzos” such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. Benzos work with receptors in the brain to decrease activity in the regions of the brain responsible for feelings of fear.

What Should I Know About Benzos?

There are different types of benzodiazepines. One type is sedative-hypnotics, which bring a calming effect that can include drowsiness. In higher dosages, this type of benzodiazepine can result in a physiological sleep state resembling hypnosis. The second type are anti-anxiety medications whose purpose is to reduce anxiety. All benzos are sedatives that reduce anxiety, but different benzos target different brain areas. Some work on the region of the brain that controls emotions such as fear, while others get started on sleep and wakefulness levels.

Two More Things to Know About Oral Sedation

  • Review all medications you take with Dr. Darr before choosing oral sedation
  • We require a driver for your appointment—never take benzos and drive!

Office Hours

Monday 7:30AM - 3:30PM
Tuesday 7:30AM - 3:30PM
Wednesday 7:30AM - 3:30PM
Thursday 7:30AM - 3:30PM


107 South Morgan Ave.
Broussard, LA 70518

Serving Broussard, Youngsville, Lafayette, New Iberia & beyond.

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