Dr. Kurt Richter and his three nurses at 305 E. Osage recently became licensed to practice conscious sedation, a procedure that can eliminate the dread, tension and fear that can be associated with a visit to the dentist for some patients.

But this story actually started 32 years ago when Dr. Richter started working as a dentist in the office of Dr. Harry Glassman, who was his childhood dentist.

Dr. Richter, his two brothers and one sister, all went to Dr. Glassman and found his good cheer and gentle care left them with a good impression of going to the dentist.

“He was just always smiling and always in a good mood,” Dr. Richter said. “I was glad to be able to work with him. I learned a lot from him.”

Dr. Richter always felt that people should not be afraid to go to the dentist, but he sensed tension and anxiety in many of his patients.

He decided to add conscious sedation to his practice for those people who are fearful or anxious about going to the dentist.

The patient takes one pill about one hour prior to the dental work.

“The sedative drug effectively reduces anxiety and fear,” Dr. Richter said, “so people can have dental treatment. People don’t remember most of the procedure.”

Dr. Richter also uses nitrous oxide, an odorless gas, commonly called “laughing gas,” to work with children.

The person most likely to respond to the new procedure is someone who needs dentistry the most.

“They are the people who have avoided going to the dentist even when they need it,” he said.

According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCSeducation.com), some 30 percent of the population is afraid of going to the dentist.

“This anxiety can prevent otherwise healthy people from seeking out necessary dental care and cleanings,” Dr. Richter said.

For more information about this procedure, call 636-257-3997.