Sedation Dentistry in St. Paul, MN

"Thank you, Dr. O'Neill and staff, for taking such good care of me during my six-hour sedation appointment! You truly help alleviate my fears with your specialized service and genuine kindness. I recommend you to everyone I know."- Jacque Bona

Dentistry still hurts, even with novocaine? Click here to learn more about pain-free dentistry and watch a video with Dr. O'Neill!

If you have dental anxiety, you are not alone.

Millions of Americans report some level of fear when it comes to their dental appointments. When speaking with our Saint Paul patients, we realized that dental anxiety was keeping many of them from getting the dental care they need to stay healthy. We want to make it easy for all of our patients to live healthier lives and enjoy beautiful smiles.

Dr. Terry O’Neill sought the necessary continuing education to offer sedation dentistry so that our patients can avoid the apprehension they feel related to their dental appointments. He is a member of DOCS (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation) Education and received his certification in oral conscious sedation so that you can have your dental treatment while feeling completely relaxed.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Oral conscious sedation dentistry utilizes medication to benefit patients who feel stress during their dental appointments. During your first dental appointment with our Saint Paul dentist, we collect your most current health history, along with any medication you are currently taking, to ensure that oral sedation dentistry is safe for you. We will administer the medication when you come in for your appointment and allow time for it to take effect before beginning your procedure. Our dental team will monitor your vitals and begin treatment after administering the appropriate anesthetic.

Though you will be conscious during your dental treatment, you are likely to lose your sense of time, allowing us to complete multiple procedures, if necessary, without you feeling like your appointment is lengthy or uncomfortable. Although we use conscious sedation, most patients have little or no memory of their treatment. It is as if they were asleep the whole time.

Once Dr. O’Neill completes your treatment, you will have some time to wake up and become more alert. You will need someone to drive you home from your appointment and should avoid working, making any critical decisions, and driving for the rest of the day.

What Is Dental Anxiety?

While no one ever really looks forward to a surgical or invasive procedure, some people may experience higher levels of stress and anxiety than usual. Dental anxiety can stem from past bad experiences, maybe from stemming from childhood, or even fear of the unknown. Whatever the root cause may be, the outcome can be severe.

When patients have dental anxiety, they may avoid regular dental check-ups and exams that can identify minor oral health issues before they become more prominent. Other consequences of avoiding a visit to your local dentist can include:

  • Severe and lasting tooth and gum pain
  • Ongoing gum and tooth infections
  • Tooth loss from infection and decay
  • Gum disease that leads to compromised gums and general health
  • Chronic cavities and tooth decay
  • A lapse in general health and well-being

Even if you aren't currently experiencing any tooth or jaw pain, this may not be an indicator of perfect oral hygiene. Many dental issues have mild symptoms that patients can easily overlook. The only way to honestly tell if your oral health is good is with dental check-ups and exams with your Saint Paul dentist. 

What Does Dental Anxiety Look Like?

While everyone’s case is different, most patients who suffer from dental anxiety commonly report symptoms like:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Unable to relax
  • Restless night before dental office visit

Whether you suffer from mild nervousness to chronic and debilitating dental anxiety, we can help.

Dr. Terry O'Neill and Dr. Norah Hoverson are both passionate about advances in dentistry and dental treatments that allow their patients to get the dental care they need in a comfortable and safe setting. At Highgrove Dental Care, our goal is to address every concern that our patients may have so we can help them achieve perfect oral health.

We want every dental visit to get easier each time.

Watch this video with Dr. O'Neill and call us today!

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

There are many varying reasons why Saint Paul patients may feel stress and anxiety when facing a dental office visit or procedure. Many patients who have delayed getting regular dental cleanings and exams may feel embarrassed about their oral health state—creating a vicious cycle that only gets worse over time.

We always encourage patients to schedule a dental appointment at any time, even if it’s been many years since you’ve last seen us. It’s not our job to scold you or make you feel ashamed due to your dental anxiety. In fact, we want to encourage more patients to feel comfortable about facing their fears and trusting our gentle and compassionate manner.

Our Saint Paul dentists and their incredible dental staff are educated in understanding dental anxiety and don’t judge our patients. At Highgrove Dental Care, we want to help our patients avoid tooth decay, infections, and even tooth loss that stem from dental anxiety.

Common reasons for dental anxiety include:

  • Past traumatic experience with a dentist
  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • Anxiety over pain or discomfort
  • General anxiety

Together, we can change the narrative of your relationship with dental procedures and make your oral health a pleasant and positive experience for you.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

In addition to feeling relaxed, sedation dentistry offers many additional benefits.

Multiple procedures in one visit – Because you will not feel anxious, we will be able to complete multiple procedures much more quickly. This is highly beneficial for patients who have some catching up to do where their dentistry is concerned.

Eliminates gag reflexes – If you tend to gag during your dental procedures, sedation dentistry will reduce and even eliminate your gag reflex. Patients who were unable to tolerate treatment can now have the dental care they need to stay healthy!

Increased effectiveness of anesthetic – If you have trouble getting numb, the most common reason patients seek sedation, oral sedation can help. Anxiety can make it difficult for some patients to get and stay numb for an appointment. Sedation dentistry allows you to get and stay numb more effectively.

Combined with Dr. O’Neill’s knowledge regarding effective anesthetic techniques, you can experience pain-free dentistry. For more information on getting numb, please watch the video on the Pain-Free Dentistry page.

Call our 55116 Dental Office to Learn More about Sedation Dentistry

High-quality dentistry is possible for everyone – even if you have avoided dental treatment for years. Our knowledgeable and professional team will work with you to find a solution that works best for you and your unique needs.

If you live in the Saint Paul, MN area, and want to improve your health, but you have fears surrounding dentistry and dental treatment, contact Highgrove Dental Care to schedule a consultation. Our entire team looks forward to helping you achieve a healthy and comfortable smile!