Sedation Dentists: What is the Cost of Sedation Dentistry? (video)

cost of sedation dentistryThe Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists about the cost of sedation dentistry.

The cost of sedation dentistry varies widely among dentists. Of course, if you are a dental patient spending thousands for cosmetic dentistry, then sedation fees are just a drop in the bucket.

The average fee for oral conscious sedation is about $300. Some dentists don’t charge, whereas others ask as much as $650.

A third offer IV sedation, charging about $500. But intravenous sedation fees ranged from $250-$800. Only 6% have general anesthesia capabilities. Ranging from $320 to $1200, anesthesia costs around $700.

“My IV sedation fee is based on the amount of time needed to complete dental procedures,” said a Florida pediatric dentist.

“Most of the time I don’t charge for the sedation as these are usually very large (20K plus) cases,” reported a Texas dentist.

To hear more of what dentists had to say about sedation dentistry, please click play and watch the following survey video –

Conscious sedation dentistry helps lower patients’ anxiety and marketing sedation dentistry to the anxious dental patient is a smart way to bring in new dental patients.

What do you charge for oral conscious sedation at your dental practice?

For more on this survey see: Sedation Dentistry: Cost of Peace of Mind

The Sedation Dentist – As Seen on TV’s ‘Glee’

Sedation dentistry on TV show 'Glee'There’s a new dentist on the pop culture scene! “Dr. Carl” has joined the cast of TV’s ‘Glee.’

In last week’s Britney/Brittany episode, the whole glee club has musical fantasies about pop star Britney Spears while under the influence of Dr. Carl’s hallucinogen-laced sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry on Glee

The popular TV show chronicles the adventures of a high school glee club. One of the school’s teachers is dating Dr. Carl, a local dentist played by John Stamos.

The dentist visits the glee club for a dental outreach, where he discovers that some of the students have terrible teeth. Cheerleader Brittany’s are the worst of the bunch.

Brittany: “I don’t brush my teeth. I rinse my mouth out with soda after I eat. I was pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a dentist.

Brittany goes to visit Dr. Carl for treatment.

Dr. Carl: “So, Brittany, you, uh… You have the worst teeth I’ve ever seen. You have cavities in every single tooth. That’s got to be some sort of record.
Brittany: “Please don’t pull all my teeth. When I smile I’ll look like an adult baby…”
Dr. Carl: “All right, we’ll put you under a little general anesthesia – you won’t feel a thing.”
Brittany: “Like roofies?”
Dr. Carl: “Yeah, totally.”

While Brittany is sedated, she has vivid musical dreams of Britney Spears. When the cheerleader wakes up, Dr. Carl tells her that she’ll have to come back the next day, as he wasn’t able to fill all of her 68 cavities.

When cheerleader Santana accompanies her friend Brittany, Dr. Carl is reluctant to work on Santana, as she has perfect teeth. But the cheerleader is determined, telling the dentist, “Get up in my grill, ‘cuz Brits and I wants to get our anesthesia on!

All of the students visit the dentist, and all have musical fantasies of Britney Spears. The reason for this is explained later in the episode:

Artie: “The nitrous oxide dentist uses a mild hallucinogen.”

“Studies have proven that it induces vivid dreams,” the student explains. “Often the last thing the patient thinks of, the subconscious moves to the forefront. Since we’ve all been thinking so much about Britney, you know, it stands to reason…”

Sedation Dentistry in Real Life

Of course, people who watch this episode will hopefully understand that it does not accurately represent sedation dentistry. The “hallucinogen” reference makes it clear that Dr. Carl is not your average sedation dentist.

Nonetheless, from a dental perspective, a few aspects of this episode are troubling.

Most bothersome is the ambiguity between general anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation. Dr. Carl tells Brittany he’s giving her general anesthesia – and there’s no anesthesiologist, no oxygen monitors, no assistant. Later in the episode, we learn that Dr. Carl in fact uses nitrous oxide.

The difference between general anesthesia and nitrous oxide was at the heart of a dentist’s recent lawsuit against Yelp reviewers. The dentist sedated a child with nitrous oxide and put in an amalgam filling. The child’s parents later posted extremely negative comments about the dentist, saying she had used too much general anesthesia on the child. (The pediatric dentist does not offer general anesthesia.) The parents were also upset that the dentist used a filling that contained mercury, although they had signed a consent form saying as much prior to the child’s treatment.

The Consequences of Dr. Carl

The fact is, Dr. Carl is now the most visible dentist in today’s pop culture landscape.

As a profession, dentists could do a lot worse. John Stamos’s Dr. Carl is handsome, charming and funny. He’s not nerdy or awkward or cruel. Refreshingly, he doesn’t at all play into the ‘Marathon Man’ stereotype of dentists as pathological sadists.

Dr. Carl is giving sedation dentistry a lot more exposure than it normally gets. On the one hand, it’s great to let people know that sleeping through their dental work is a viable option. On the other hand, this is clearly not an accurate representation of sedation dentistry.

And What about You?

Do you think TV viewers are savvy enough to realize how Dr. Carl’s “treatment” differs from real-life sedation dentistry?

Have any of your patients mentioned ‘Glee’ and Dr. Carl to you? Is Dr. Carl an asset when it comes to dental marketing?

The Sedation Dentist Offers Multiple Types of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry typesNitrous oxide is the most popular type of sedation dentistry, found our recent survey, with oral conscious sedation a close second. In fact, dentists are four times more likely to provide nitrous oxide sedation than pediatric dental sedation.

“Sedation is not for everybody (the dentists),” advised one dentist.

The respondents to this survey tended to offer multiple types of sedation dentistry.

  • 88% Nitrous Oxide
  • 83% Oral Conscious Sedation
  • 47% IV Sedation
  • 31% Dental Fear / Phobic Counseling
  • 22% Pediatric Sedation

Here are some comments from dentists:

  • “Couldn’t do without these two [nitrous oxide & conscious sedation].” (Texas dentist)
  • “It’s a wonderful option for dental phobic patients!” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “In many cases it is the only safe way to practice dentistry for pediatric dentistry cases and special needs and phobics.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It is wonderful that dentists are now addressing the issue of patient dental anxiety with sedation, but I hope we don’t attempt to treat patients with a one-size-fits-all mentality.” (General Dentist)
  • “It’s not for everybody (the dentists).” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Sedation is very safe when used properly. Practice carefully and continue your training.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “The dental profession should offer more programs for dentists who want to be able to administer general anesthesia.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “I.V Sedation is probably safer due to more direct route of administration.” (California dentist)

Read more: Dentists Offer Many Types of Sedation Dentistry

Nitrous Oxide: Dentists Aren’t Laughing

Nitrous oxide dentistsTwo out of three dentists offer nitrous oxide, this survey found, but many docs don’t prefer it – 18% never use it and another 13% rarely do.

“I offered nitrous oxide for twenty years, but there was little demand,” said one dentist. “I’m glad I don’t offer it anymore.”

Laughing gas dentists“I became a re-born believer in nitrous when I had dentistry done in my own mouth,” offered another. “Whatever we can do to relieve our patients’ anxiety also reduces our own and increases our bottom line!”

Specialists and rural dentists are significantly more likely than general dentists to offer nitrous oxide.

Here are some dentist comments on the topic:

  • “People don’t ask for it as much as they did 20 years ago. Maybe I’m just getting really good at this Dentistry thing!” (Illinois dentist)
  • “It’s nice for children and really nervous patients. I would have an adult pay for it, but I would give it to kids for my sanity.” (General dentist)
  • “I have found that a modern, comfortable office with soothing music, comfortable environment, a great staff, and a caring dentist beats out the calming effects of nitrous oxide any day! I rarely ever have the need to use nitrous oxide for our patients (maybe once every 6 months).” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “I charge for using nitrous. This eliminates those that don’t really need it. It is expensive to use (cost of gas and staff that must be with the patient at all times).” (Washington dentist)
  • “The greatest part of dentistry is the interaction with patients and their families. Nitrous oxide and the latest craze “sleep dentistry” limit those interactions.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “I think it’s nuts to use nitrous…the dentist and staff are breathing it, it takes tons of time to set up, it’s expensive, the equipment is WAY expensive, and some people get sick or very weird on it.” (Washington dentist)

Read more: Dentists Who Offer Nitrous Oxide


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