Sedation Dentistry for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Caring for an Alzheimer's patientImagine being in pain because of an irritating toothache. Now imagine constantly being in a state of confusion. At Fresno Dental Studio, we offer sedation dentistry for special needs patients, because receiving dental work shouldn’t be scary, nor should it trigger agitation. In patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a routine dental procedure can seem even more intimidating than it does for a healthy person. We want all of our patients so feel at ease and comfortable when undergoing a dental procedure. Dr. Claudia Denes in Fresno, CA offers special needs dentistry for patients who require a little help relaxing before undergoing dental work.

If you care for a loved one that is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and needs dental care, call our Fresno, CA office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Denes. Call 559-297-1294.

Living in Confusion

For our patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, routine dental procedures can understandably elicit dental anxiety. Patients who suffer from these conditions feel confused and disoriented. Often, they forget who their loved ones are or where they are at any given time. Not only do patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia experience forgetfulness, they may also endure constant aggravation because they continue to forget things that they know they should remember. Dr. Denes doesn’t want these patients to leave their dental issues untreated; therefore, she offers a variety of sedative medications to promote relaxation and peace of mind.

With sedation, procedures such as tooth extractions, dental implant placement or restoration, placing bridges, crowns, fillings, and more, can be performed while the patient is calm and comfortable. For those who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, even the smallest procedure could produce an unfavorable reaction. Before recommending sedation dentistry, Dr. Denes will meet with the patient and discuss their dental needs, as well as determine if sedation dentistry will benefit this patient’s unique needs.

Sedation Dentistry 

When you feel anxious, your body’s heartrate and breathing increase in speed. Dr. Denes uses benzodiazepines for sedation, which is a category of medication intended to safely slow down the heart rate and breathing. These oral medications allow our patients to feel relaxed and calm prior to their dental procedure. In most cases, Dr. Denes will prescribe two doses. The first dose should be taken the night before the appointment. This will help the patient relax and get a good night’s sleep before attending the dental appointment.

The second and final dose should be taken an hour before the procedure. This allows the medication ample time to works its way through the patient’s body, so he will feel the full effects of the sedative during the procedure. For some patients who suffer from cognitive conditions, the sedative allows them to better tolerate their dental procedure. At the end of the procedure, the patient will feel relief from their past dental issue and will either not remember or remember only vaguely the procedure itself.

Types of Benzodiazepines

Not everyone reacts to medications in the same way. Dr. Denes has a variety of sedatives to prescribe to best meet suit our special needs patients. Medication can be administered in one of three forms: pill form, IV drip form, and liquid form. While all of these provide similar effects, it is up to the caregiver, the patient, and Dr. Denes to determine which is best. Valium, Ativan, and Restoril are administered in the form of a pill. Halcion is administered via IV drip and Versed is taken as a liquid. Our goal is to provide the utmost level of comfort for our special needs dentistry patients.

Dental needs shouldn’t go untreated because of dental anxiety or medical conditions. We strive the meet the unique needs of all our patients. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Denes today for more information about special needs dentistry. Call our Fresno, CA office. Call 559-297-1294.

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