Call It Twilight Dentistry

Dental implants are one of the most common procedures performed at Bay Area Surgical Arts.  Whether they are scheduled at our Cupertino or San Francisco office, most of our procedure are done in a hospital-style operating suite, with the patient under IV sedation.

While dental implants have become routine, they still involve surgically placing a titanium screw into the patient’s jaw.  And we know based on scientific data that 15% of the patients that walk into any dental clinic are terrified to even see a dentist.  Furthermore, 50% of the patients have some level of dental anxiety.  Then to make things even worst, extractions are the most anxiety provoking procedure for patients!  So anytime we see a patient we have to assume that they are already anxious and tense at the mere thought of dental work, let alone drilling and place a screw into their jaw!  IV sedation allows us to put our patients into a state of deep relaxation, so that their comfort is assured.

Now, the most common misperception that we hear on a daily basis is that IV sedation is the same thing as General Anesthesia (GA).  It is not.  They are completely different.  GA requires a patient to be completely paralyzed in order to intubate them (place a breathing tube in their lungs).  This is usually reserved for the hospital setting.  IV sedation only requires a small catheter to be place in your arm in order to provide you with liquid forms of anti-anxiety medications.  As a result, the patient’s vital organs continue to work and you breath on your own.  It does not, however, put you completely “under”, even though it will like you are completely under.  This is when we call “Twilight Sleep dentistry”.

Because of the IV medications, you will not feel or hear anything with regard to the procedure.  Usually at the end of the procedure the patients are surprised that we are even finished with the procedure.  As one of my young patients once stated: “It’s like magic, how did you do that?”

IV sedation is a good choice for any invasive procedure, especially implant surgery.  The effects of IV sedation takes seconds and the dosages that are provided are based on your weight and are easily adjusted to effect.  Moreover, it has an amnestic effect so you will not remember what happened during the procedure or even the rest of the day.  This is why you need to have someone reliable and trustworthy with you to drive you home afterwards.  (We cannot put you in a Lyft or Uber – as commonly requested.). You should also plan on taking the rest of the day off.

Lastly, because of the IV access, we provide additional medications that will speed up the healing process, and minimize any swelling or pain from the surgery.  These medications may include, long-lasting pain medication, antibiotics, anti-nausea and anti-swelling medications.

When the surgery is over, you will gently wake up with a proud owner of a new, artificial tooth.  The great thing about dental implants is that if they are done correctly, they look and function like natural teeth.  That probably explains why they have become one of the fastest-growing segments of dentistry in the world.

We have done thousands of dental implants, as both single and multiple replacement teeth which is usually referred to as the “All-on-4” concept.  We have offices in San Francisco and Cupertino. Give us a call at 415-813-6400 in San Francisco or 408-253-6081 in Cupertino.