SPECIALTY DENTISTRY

Serving Maple Ridge and Surrounding Areas 

Specialized Dentistry Services for Comprehensive Dental Care | Maple Ridge Dental Specialists

Specialty dentistry is a specialized branch of oral health care that focuses on specific areas of dental expertise. These dental professionals receive additional training beyond general dentistry to provide specialized care for various dental conditions.

Westgate Dental Centre offers the best specialization in dentistry services to our patients, encompassing a range of recognized dentistry specialties. Our highly trained and experienced dental professionals are skilled in various areas, including cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and dental public health.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medications to help patients relax or become completely unaware during dental procedures. The level of sedation can range from minimal, where the patient is awake but relaxed, to deep, where the patient is on the edge of consciousness but can be awakened. Sedation Dentistry is for patients who fear dental procedures, or when a procedure could be particularly lengthy or uncomfortable.

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Evolution of Sedation in Dentistry

Dentistry has been practiced for thousands of years, and reducing pain or discomfort during procedures isn’t new. The earliest dentists used a combination of physical restraints and natural herbs to calm patients or numb their pain.

The discovery of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) by Sir Humphry Davy, an English chemist, was the game-changer. Initially used for recreation, it was soon found effective in numbing pain during dental procedures.

The rise of oral sedatives like Valium offered a less invasive relaxation method for patients with dental anxieties. Technological advancements also allowed for safer and more precise administration of all forms of sedation.

Benefits of Modern Dental Practice

Patient Comfort: 

Sedation alleviates dental anxieties, ensuring a more relaxed patient experience.

Efficiency

Sedation enables quicker and smoother procedures.

Safety

Modern sedation minimizes risks and prevents sudden patient movements during treatments.

Expanding Access

Sedation encourages individuals who fear dental treatments to seek necessary care.

Special Needs

It offers tailored solutions for patients with physical or cognitive challenges.

Types of Sedation

Oral Sedation

How it works: Patients ingest a pill or liquid form of sedative before the procedure begins.

Pros

Cons

No needles

Takes time to take effect

Easy to administer

Patient needs escort after procedure

Safety Measures:

  • Adherence to pre-procedure guidelines.
  • Monitoring of vital signs during the procedure.

Inhalation Sedation (Nitrous Oxide/Laughing Gas)

How it works: Patients inhale the sedative through a mask that’s placed over their nose.

 

Pros

Cons

Effects wear off quickly

Will not be sufficient for deep or extensive procedures

Safety Measures:

  • Control of the oxygen-nitrous oxide mixture to ensure proper concentration.
  • Proper mask fitting to avoid leakage.
  • Ensuring adequate room ventilation.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

How it works: The sedative is delivered directly into the patient’s bloodstream via an IV drip.

Pros

Cons

Immediate effect

Requires a skilled professional for administration

Depth of sedation can be adjusted in real-time

Use of needles can be a concern for some patients

Safety Measures:

  • Continuous monitoring of vital signs.
  • Having emergency equipment readily available.

Candidates for Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry caters to a variety of situations, ensuring patients can comfortably undergo dental procedures. Below are some key scenarios illustrating the importance of sedation dentistry:

Dental Phobia

Individuals who experience severe anxiety or fear about dental visits, often stemming from past traumatic experiences, fear of pain, or the unfamiliar sounds and sensations of a dental office,

Gag Reflex

Patients with a pronounced or hypersensitive gag reflex make certain dental procedures challenging to perform. Sedation can suppress the gag reflex, allowing dental professionals to work without interruptions and ensuring the patient’s comfort.

Special Needs in Patients

Our friendly Dentists in Maple Ridge specialize in caring for patients with special needs, including those with physical or mental conditions such as developmental disabilities and movement disorders. They provide tailored dental care to ensure everyone receives proper treatment and comfort during their visits.

Extensive Dental Work

Patients undergoing procedures that are lengthy or involve multiple stages, such as: 

  • full mouth reconstructions
  • multiple extractions
  • certain types of oral surgeries.

Longer procedures can be tiring and uncomfortable. Sedation can help patients remain relaxed, consolidating multiple visits into one and ensuring consistent quality of work.

Sensitivity

Individuals who have heightened sensitivity in their teeth or gums make even minor procedures or cleanings painful. Sedation can mitigate the discomfort caused by this sensitivity.

Risks And Considerations​

Consideration

Description

Medical History

Interactions with medications or health conditions.

Post-procedure Drowsiness

Common with oral and IV sedation; will need a driver.

Rare Side Effects

Allergic reactions or respiratory issues.

Skilled Professionals

Necessary for safe administration and monitoring.

Cost

Additional fees can apply; check insurance coverage.

The Sedation Process

Below a step-by-step walkthrough of the sedation process:

Discussion with the dentist regarding the suitability for sedation, choosing the type of sedation, and addressing any concerns or questions.

Receiving guidelines on eating, drinking, and the management of other medications before the procedure to ensure safety during sedation.

Continuous monitoring of vital signs such as heart rate and oxygen levels, and ensuring the patient’s comfort throughout the procedure.

Receiving guidance on recovery processes, understanding potential side effects, and learning necessary precautions to ensure smooth recovery and minimize risks.

Home Dental Services

Take the Next Step Towards Comfortable Dental Care

Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to make dental visits more comfortable, especially when ensuring the health of your natural teeth. If you’re nervous or unsure, talk to your dentist. They’re well-versed in oral medicine, understand the importance of oral function, and can address concerns related to dental pulp and dental diseases.

We offer Specialty Dentistry services, and we also specialize in pediatric dentistry for our younger patients, ensuring children have a positive start in their oral health journey.

While we don’t offer maxillofacial surgery oral or maxillofacial radiology, we have various other services catering to the oral and maxillofacial regions. If you have concerns related to pathology oral medicine, our team can guide you in the right direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Numerous recognized dental specialties include endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, and pediatric dentist. As with neurologists and cardiologists, dental specialists are oral healthcare professionals who receive specialized training following dentistry school.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a specialized procedure performed by highly trained oral and maxillofacial surgeons. It encompasses a range of procedures to treat diseases, fix injuries, or correct defects in the face, jaw, or mouth. These procedures are designed to reduce pain, fix deformities, and restore oral function for patients.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with oral and maxillofacial surgery. However, the benefits of these procedures can be significant in improving oral health and overall well-being. Suppose you have concerns or questions about oral and maxillofacial surgery. In that case, it’s important to consult with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who can provide you with personalized information and guidance.

These are the nine recognized dental specialties in Canada:

  • Endodontics
  • Dental Public Health
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Pathology Oral Medicine
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

If you suspect you might need a specialty dentist, consider the following guidelines:

  • General Dentist Referral:

Your general dentist can identify specific issues during check-ups and may refer you to a specialist.

  • Symptom-Based Needs:

Symptom

Potential Specialist

Persistent oral pain

Endodontist, Oral Surgeon

Gum bleeding or gum disease

Periodontist

Tooth misalignment

Orthodontist

Tooth damage or loss

Prosthodontist

Issues with children’s teeth

Pediatric Dentist

Impacted wisdom teeth

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Need for a root canal

Endodontist

 

  • Specific Procedures or Concerns:
  1. Cosmetic Enhancements: Consult a cosmetic dentist or prosthodontist.
  2. Children’s Dental Issues: A pediatric dentist specializes in children’s dental care.
  3. Surgical Procedures: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons handle dental surgeries.
  4. Internal Tooth Problems: Endodontists focus on the inside of the tooth, like root canals.

The cost of specialty dentistry versus general dentistry depends on several factors:

Factors

General Dentistry

Specialty Dentistry

Nature of Treatment

Simple fillings, cleanings

Root canals, braces, dental implants

Length and Complexity

Shorter (e.g., single visit for cleaning)

Longer (e.g., orthodontic treatments spanning months or years)

Expertise and Training

4 years (after undergraduate)

Varies by specialty, e.g., Oral Surgeon: 4 years + 4-6 years residency

Geographic Location

Costs may vary; potentially lower in rural areas

Costs are higher, especially in urban settings

Dental Insurance Coverage

Often higher coverage

May vary or be lower; dependent on the procedure

Facility and Equipment

Basic dental equipment

Advanced, specialized equipment

Yes, in many cases, you can directly approach a dental specialist without a referral from a general dentist. However, the process and requirements can vary based on a few factors:

  • Insurance Policies: Some dental insurance plans will require a referral to cover the costs of seeing a specialist. Check with your insurance provider to understand any necessary prerequisites for coverage.
  • Specialist’s Office Protocol: Some specialists can prefer a referral to ensure you receive the most appropriate care. This can help streamline the patient’s experience and ensure the specialist has all the necessary background information.
  • Type of Specialist: While many specialists accept patients without referrals, some, like certain oral surgeons or periodontists, often work primarily on referrals.

Dental specialists undergo additional training and education beyond what a general dentist receives. They focus on specific areas of dentistry, such as orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, or oral surgery. General dentists provide primary dental care and may refer patients to specialists when needed.

Specialized procedures like orthodontic treatment or dental implant placement often require multiple visits and may span several months to achieve the desired results. General dental treatments, such as routine cleanings, are typically shorter in duration.

Sedation dentistry can be beneficial for individuals with dental anxiety or those who require complex dental procedures. However, its suitability depends on factors like the patient’s overall health, medical history, and the type of procedure being performed.

If you suspect you will need a specialty dentist, consider the following guidelines:

General Dentist Referral:

Your general dentist can identify specific issues during check-ups and can refer you to a professional

.

Symptom-Based Needs:

Symptom

Potential Specialist

Persistent oral pain

Endodontist, Oral Surgeon

Gum bleeding or gum disease

Periodontist

Tooth misalignment

Orthodontist

Tooth damage or loss

Prosthodontist

Issues with children’s teeth

Pediatric Dentist

Impacted wisdom teeth

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Need for a root canal

Endodontist

The cost of specialty dentistry versus general dentistry depends on several factors:

Factors

General Dentistry

Specialty Dentistry

Nature of Treatment

Simple fillings, cleanings

Root canals, braces, dental implants

Length and Complexity

Shorter (e.g., single visit for cleaning)

Longer (e.g., orthodontic treatments spanning months or years)

Expertise and Training

4 years (after undergraduate)

Varies by specialty, e.g., Oral Surgeon: 4 years + 4-6 years residency

Geographic Location

Costs can vary; potentially lower in rural areas

Costs are higher, especially in urban settings

Dental Insurance Coverage

Often higher coverage

Will vary or be lower; dependent on the procedure

Facility and Equipment

Basic dental equipment

Advanced, specialized equipment

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