What is Sedation Dentistry?

If you fear a visit to the dentist, then sedation dentistry might be for you. Sedation dentistry is an option for people whose severe fear of going to the dentist is detrimental to their oral or mental health. Do you skip checkups and avoid going until it’s an emergency? If your severe fear keeps you from the oral care you need, look into sedation dentistry in your area. The sedative is given at the start of the appointment to help you feel calm and relaxed throughout the procedure. Sedation dentistry can make visiting the dentist possible for people who otherwise would avoid it at all costs.

Will I Be Asleep?

Most people who opt for sedation dentistry are not asleep or unconscious during the procedure. Instead, the majority of patients are awake but relaxed and less aware of their surroundings. Grogginess, loss of speech, or even slurred speech are common symptoms. For this reason, most patients need to recover for a period of time after the procedure, before driving. While general anesthesia comes with its own risks, it is still occasionally used for major dental procedures, like oral surgery or the removal of a tooth. You want to talk to your sedation dentist about what makes sense for you.

Do Insurance Plans Cover Sedation Dentistry?

Unfortunately, without a formal diagnosis of severe dental phobia, most insurance plans deny coverage for sedation dentistry. If you feel that your fear is significant, you’ll want to seek out a psychologist to diagnose your fear. Once this occurs, many (but not all) dental insurance plans will cover some if not all of the costs of sedation dentistry, especially since it’s medically necessary. The only issue is that most dental insurance policies have a yearly cap on the amount that they’ll cover. If your plan offers $2,000 of coverage, using sedation dentistry will use up your policy more quickly than traditional dentistry.

How Much Does Sedation Dentistry Cost?

Sedation dentistry is a more expensive option for dental work, but people with severe phobias agree that it’s worth it. If you want to pay for the sedation out of your own pocket, be prepared before you go in. There are several levels of sedation, and the costs for each varies. In general, the lowest level of sedation is a nitrous oxide and costs about $50 per dose. If you have a long appointment, you may need multiple doses to stay sedated. There are two other common “levels” of sedation. For example, oral sedation costs about $250 per dose. Intravenous sedation, typically the highest level without losing consciousness, averages to a cost of upwards of $550 per dose. What you need depends on your level of fear, as well as the length of your dental visit. Choosing oral sedation for a long appointment may cost less than multiple doses of nitrous oxide, for example. Your sedation dentist can go over the specific costs with you.

Sedation dentistry enables more people to get the care that they need. If your severe dental phobia prevents you from getting oral health checkups and procedures, it may be worth it to see if you can get a diagnosis and some of the costs covered by insurance. Otherwise, paying out of pocket might be the best option for you.

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