Full Smile Restoration

Ease dental anxiety with sedation dentistry.

While Hollywood, Florida native Kathy Ralph will always say she made good on her plans to travel north for college, her family will always contest the notion. After all, one can argue that in attending Maryville College in Tennessee, Kathy actually ventured even deeper south.

Kathy Ralph

Located just outside of Knoxville, Maryville College sits on the northern edge of the area known as the Deep South, where the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains was the lure that attracted Kathy.

“As a young girl, I used to go to North Carolina in the summer, and I came to love the Smoky Mountains,” Kathy explains.

“They’re absolutely wonderful. I also wanted to see the change of seasons because I never really experienced that living in Florida. Going to Maryville College allowed me to do that.”

To make ends meet while in college, Kathy took a job in the school’s admissions office. She came to love her work helping young people navigate their way through the admissions process and soon made a career of it.

Her first job following graduation brought her back to Florida, where she quickly settled in at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg and went on to spend the next 35 years, first as an academic advisor for the College of Education and finally as the associate dean of admissions.

Since retiring a few years ago, Kathy has devoted most of her time to volunteer work.

A couple of years ago, she voluntarily visited an area dentist to have her teeth cleaned. It was a step well outside of her comfort zone.

“I don’t like dentists,” Kathy divulges. “I haven’t liked them since I was a child. I had terrible baby teeth and needed to have some of them extracted. I can still remember being 6 or 7 years old and waking up while the dentist was pulling one of my teeth.

“About 15 or 20 years ago, I went to a dentist who started to insert a dental implant. That didn’t go very well either. After that, I stopped going to the dentist. But I knew I needed to have some work done, and I also wanted to get my teeth whitened.”

Kathy’s fear of dentists is so great that she decided she would only see one who practiced sedation dentistry, meaning she would be sedated to some degree no matter what procedure was done.

While looking through a copy of Florida Health Care News, she found such a dentist in David Sherberg, DMD, FAGD. The founder of Bayway Dental in St. Petersburg, Dr. Sherberg has the skill and technology to perform virtually any dental procedure.

“We’re a one-stop shop, so most of our patients don’t need to see a specialist to get the care they need,” Dr. Sherberg says. “We do root canals, crowns, dentures, implants, veneers, extractions, just about everything.”

Sleep Tight

Kathy first visited Dr. Sherberg in 2019. At the time, it was quite evident she had given up on regular dental visits. In addition to finding several failing teeth, Dr. Sherberg discovered Kathy had periodontal disease.

To correct the latter issue, Dr. Sherberg recommended that Kathy visit a periodontist, which she did. A few months later, Kathy returned to Dr. Sherberg’s office for a consultation regarding her extended care.

“When Kathy came back to us, I asked her, So what would you like us to do for you?” Dr. Sherberg remembers. “She said, I know I have a lot of problems with my teeth, so I want to fix those problems and brighten my smile all at the same time.

“Then she said, And I’d like to be sedated for everything. As she explained her fear of dentists, it became clear that for just about anything beyond an impression she would need to be under some form of sedation.”

For anxious patients such as Kathy, Dr. Sherberg offers two forms of sedation. The one he uses most often is oral conscious sedation. This is administered through a pill, usually Valium, that can be supplemented with either nitrous oxide or hydroxyzine.

“Oral conscious sedation is a very easy, safe and effective way to put somebody in a twilight state where they are still awake, yet they are very relaxed and comfortable and typically doze in and out of sleep,” Dr. Sherberg educates.

Dr. Sherberg also offers IV sedation. This is administered intravenously by an anesthesiologist, who keeps the patient conscious yet in a moderate or deep sleep throughout the procedure.

“My teeth are nice and bright, and they look very natural.” – Kathy

“For all intents and purposes, people who receive IV sedation tend to not remember what happened to them,” Dr. Sherberg explains. “We typically reserve this form of sedation for patients who are very, very anxious or are undergoing a bigger surgery.”

The treatment plan Dr. Sherberg developed for Kathy called for her to be placed under IV sedation on two occasions, for the preparation of a series of crowns and placement of a dental implant to replace a missing tooth.

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once the implant is in the jawbone, new bone naturally grows around it to form the foundation for an abutment and replacement teeth.

The replacement teeth can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto the abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a full denture that can be fastened to a series of implants.

Kathy’s implant replaced a missing left lateral incisor, which is next to the left front tooth. With Kathy under oral sedation, the implant was capped with one of 19 crowns that Dr. Sherberg fashioned as part of a full smile restoration.

Time and Money Saver

Sedation dentistry eased Kathy’s anxiety and helped her get the smile she’s always wanted

The restoration project took a full year to complete. However, the use of IV sedation for the crown preparation and implant delivery and oral sedation for the crown placement allowed Dr. Sherberg to do all that work in just a few appointments.

“At a lot of practices, the kind of work that we did with Kathy would be done a little bit at a time across 10 or 15 appointments,” Dr. Sherberg notes. “Sedation allows us to handle cases like that differently here.

“When we have a case with a patient who is very anxious like Kathy, we get all our ducks in a row as far as what the patient needs and then we schedule them so they can have all that work done in just a few four- or five-hour appointments.

“In Kathy’s case, it was a couple of four- or five-hour appointments under IV sedation and then a couple of two-hour appointments under oral conscious sedation to place the crowns and make sure the bite was right and everything looked perfect.

“It’s actually a very efficient way of doing what can be a very time-consuming project, especially for someone like Kathy who is very anxious because it’s very costly and cumbersome to sedate someone 10 or 15 times.”

Kathy greatly appreciates that Dr. Sherberg was able to save her time and money and that he did a lot of work in a short period of time. She’s even happier with the outcome and the fact that she found a dentist who can cater to her special needs.

“The way Dr. Sherberg organized everything was excellent,” Kathy praises. “He knew exactly how much time he needed to do every aspect of the project, and I was very happy that I didn’t need to keep going back for appointment after appointment.

“The outcome was exactly what I was hoping for. I refer to the day that he finished everything as my graduation day, and in the end, I think he was as happy and proud of the work he did as I am with the way my smile looks.

“Everything turned out perfectly. My teeth are nice and bright, and they look very natural. Even better is the fact my teeth and gums are healthy now and well taken care of. It’s as though I killed two birds with one stone.”

As a graduation present, Dr. Sherberg gave Kathy a mouth guard to wear at night to protect her from grinding her teeth and damaging the new crowns. Kathy says it’s details like that that make Dr. Sherberg stand out from other dentists.

“He’s very detail-oriented, and he really listens to his patients,” she says. “He just super, and so is everyone on his staff. Everyone in his office is very caring, kind and professional. I gladly recommend them to anyone.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. Before and after images courtesy of Bayway Dental. mkb


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    • Bayway Dental

      Dr. David Sherberg and his team are committed to providing exceptional dentistry in a relaxing environment in southern St. Petersburg. In addition to providing exceptional dental work, all patients are given plenty of time with Dr. Sherberg to ... Read More

    • David Sherberg, DMD, FAGD

      David Sherberg, DMD, FAGD, is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine who furthered his education through the postdoctoral Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program at Virginia Commonwealt... Read More