Overcoming Dental Anxiety: Construction Considerations for Clinics Providing Sedation Dentistry

Dental anxiety is a common issue that affects millions of people worldwide. There are various contributing factors, such as the fear of pain, previous bad experiences at the dentist, or a fear of medical procedures in general. This worry and dread creates a vicious loop because those who are afraid of the dentist and dental operations will most likely avoid going to the dentist as much as possible. Not having regular check-ups and preventative care can lead to minor concerns becoming major dental issues, which need more difficult and sometimes unpleasant treatment procedures. This aggravates and reinforces dread, eventually leading to full avoidance in the future.

Luckily, sedation dentistry can be an effective solution to this problem for many people. Thanks to modern medicine and technological advancements, it’s no longer necessary to be fully awake and endure dental procedures, especially for those with strong anxiety or phobias about dental procedures. It’s more and more common for clinics and dentists to offer sedation or general anesthesia when it comes to medical procedures. 

What is sedation dentistry? 

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help patients feel more comfortable during dental procedures. The moderate dose of sedation means they’re technically still awake but relaxed, helping both the patient and the dentist. Because it induces a brief amnesic state so one can be less sensitive to pain without losing consciousness, it’s sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep” or conscious sedation dentistry.

Building a space fit for your approach

If you’re a dentist considering offering sedation dentistry in your practice, there are some construction considerations to keep in mind to ensure the best experience for your patients.

A purpose-built environment

First, it’s important to create a calm and welcoming environment in your clinic so your patients feel more relaxed and less anxious when they arrive, are waiting, and during the procedure. 

This can be done through design choices such as the use of soothing colors, natural elements like plants, comfortable seating, and natural lighting. Your waiting room in particular should be a relaxing space where patients can feel at ease before their appointment. 

Sensory-adapted dental environments

There are things in dental offices that have the potential to negatively affect people, especially children with autism, resulting in an increase of negative feelings and responses to the dentist. These include bright fluorescent lights and the taste and smell of oral care products, to name a few. To combat anxiety, these environments can include elements such as:

  • soft lighting
  • distracting entertainment, such as a screen playing a familiar tv show or movie
  • adapted tools, such as a sponge-coated dental turbine drill to minimize noise.

Treatment rooms

Make certain that your treatment rooms are suited to handle sedation dentistry. Your patient rooms should always be comfortable and relaxing, with comfortable seats or beds for the patient, as well as adjustable lighting, soundproofing, and proper ventilation. Dental clinics that provide sedation dentistry must also have monitoring and emergency equipment on hand to respond quickly to any emergencies that may arise during the procedure. This includes oxygen tanks, resuscitation equipment, and defibrillators. 

Ensuring compliance

Commercial dental clinics who want to offer deep sedation and/or general anesthesia in their institution need to be assessed by BCCOHP and get confirmation of compliance. The Sedation and General Anesthesia Standards and Guidelines must be followed by the clinic and the non-hospital based facilities in which they operate. Not cooperating could lead to legal issues and possibly losing your clinic and/or license to practice.

Chriscan Construction can get it done

Dental clinic construction is complex and requires specific construction provisions to be able to handle the equipment, lines, and water access. Luckily, we have the necessary experience and compliance requirements when it comes to these builds. For over 20 years, we’ve specialized in dental office design and dental buildings construction. You can be sure that we know what we’re doing when it comes time to build or renovate your clinic.

Check out some of our latest dental projects. 

Glenmore Dental

Built in 2021, Glenmore Dental is an incredible space with no shortage of detail. Some of the highlights include 15’ ceilings, custom made moss walls, back lit onyx stone feature walls, acoustic back wood ceilings, custom recessed linear lighting, HEPA HVAC filtration, Sonos sounds system and big screen tv’s in every operatory.

The Shore Dental Centre

This Shore Dental Centre project that we took on in 2020 features a bright and clean reception desk design with upholstery and marble tile feature wall and soothing natural colours throughout. We ensured that there would be natural light in all operatories for an added calming effect.

the modern reception and waiting area at Shore dental centre, a clinic offering sedation dentistry in Kelowna

Advance Dental Group

Advance Dental is a 5000 square foot, 12 operatory, award-winning dental clinic. This project had no shortage of wow factor. From custom built light walls to frameless glass doors and recessed linear lighting throughout. There’s even a place for children to play without adding stress to others in the dentist waiting room. 

the advance dental group dental clinic waiting room and children's play area

In conclusion, offering sedation dentistry can be a great option for patients who experience dental anxiety. One way to deal with that anxiety is to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for your patients. By creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere throughout your clinic and building your treatment rooms with the necessary equipment, you can provide a positive sedation dentistry experience for your patients.

Reach out today to get started on your next dental build or renovation!

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