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U of A dental program offering free sedation for patients

EDMONTON – For some of us, just the thought of the dental chair – and everything that comes along with it – is enough to raise our anxiety levels. Well now, a special U of A clinic is offering something to ease the dental stress for patients, free of charge.

Previous studies have suggested at least five per cent of Canadians have a high level of fear when it comes to the dentist; another 10 per cent are somewhat afraid. Hugh Robertson would likely fall into one of those two categories.

He said he used to hate going to the dentist so much, that he actually avoided it for almost 20 years.

“Sometimes they don’t sedate it enough, and you feel the work being done – yeah, I don’t like it,” he said.

Things changed about four years ago, though, when Robertson started coming to the U of A, as a volunteer patient for dentists in the Intravenous Conscious Sedation program.

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Dentists from all over Canada, and even from the U.S., come to take the 15-day program, which teaches them how to do the deep sedation they didn’t learn in dental school.

“They’re going to learn about handling and managing patients that have fear and anxiety,” said Dr. James Yacyshyn, Director of Continuing Dental Education at the U of A. “They’re going to be able to learn how to manage that under intravenous conscious sedation.”

“Coming out of school, we can do laughing gas sedation and we can give a single oral drug sedation,” said Dr. Brad Baker, who traveled from Claresholm, Alberta for the program. “But to do deeper sedation than that, you have to take additional training.”

The training he’s now receiving at the U of A clinic will allow him to put his anxious patients at ease during scarier procedures like root canals, wisdom tooth extractions, and even cleanings.

The new certification is also bound to boost business for him and the other 16 dentists taking the course.

The U of A School of Dentistry is looking for adult patients for February and June. There is no cost, but there are only a limited number of spaces available. You can e-mail cde@dentistry.ualberta.ca for more information.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News

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