For patients whose anxiety deters them from seeking dental care, a Frederick, Md, dentist offers a last resort treatment option—dental work while you sleep. Harvey Levy, DDS, who has practiced in Frederick for more than 25 years, believes dental work under general anesthesia in a hospital is a necessary solution for many people.

“In the operating room, we wipe the slate clean,” says Levy. Levy adds that while patients are under general anesthesia, all procedures can be performed at once and dental procedures in the operating room are four times faster than in the traditional dental office, as more dentists can work on a patient at once.

Anxiety prevents many people from visiting their dentist until it is an emergency. According to a November 2002 article from the Academy of General Dentistry, about 50% of Americans do not seek routine dental treatment.

Nicole Owens, a mother of two,  didn’t go to the dentist for several years after her bad experiences, which lead to major tooth decay. When pain finally brought her to Levy’s office, she needed to have four cavities filled, a crown, and an extraction.

“I was scared in the operating room that I’d feel the pain and it would wake me up from my sleep,” Owens said. “But the next thing you know, they were telling me to wake up.”

Bart Johnson, DDS, president of the American Association of Hospital Dentists, says the need for performing dentistry under general anesthesia in a hospital setting is growing exponentially.

According to Johnson, the cost of dental work in the hospital is prohibitive for most people without insurance. Hospitals charge anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 per visit. Ideally, the dental portion is covered by one’s dental insurance, and the cost of anesthesia, recovery room, and operating room are covered by medical insurance.

[www.fredericknewspost.com, May 25, 2006]