Not everyone has had positive experiences with their healthcare providers, but there are options that make receiving treatment more comfortable. Sedation options are an effective way to receive the dental care you need without the stress and anxiety that may come with visiting the dentist’s office. There’s no reason to feel pain or anxiety during dental treatment. And all it takes to get started with sedation dentistry is a simple conversation with your dentist.
It is estimated that about 40% of Americans are affected by dental anxiety.
First, your dentist will review your treatment plan to determine if sedation is a good option for your procedure. Certain types of sedation are recommended, or necessary, for more invasive or lengthy dental procedures. But there are others that are better for relieving tension and anxiety.
Your dentist will discuss your health history and overall health to determine if sedation is appropriate for you. Certain issues, like past drug addiction, the use of certain prescription medications, and some health problems may affect your ability to be sedated with your chosen method.
Your dentist will ask questions to determine your particular needs and concerns. How deeply do you wish to be sedated? What is making you anxious about your procedure? Do you have a low pain threshold? An honest conversation about the answers will help determine which sedation options will be appropriate for you.
With the information your dentist has collected, they will lay out all your available sedation options and discuss with you each one’s effects and instructions. With their recommendation and your input, we can help you choose the right option for your procedure.
This method of sedation is ideal if you are nervous about an upcoming dental procedure or appointment, but want to avoid being deeply sedated. Your dentist will pump a mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen through a nose mask, and you’ll breathe through this mask whenever you’re directed to do so.
As you breathe in the gas, you’ll feel less nervous, and may experience a “floaty” or “dreamy” feeling. Although you may feel a little disconnected from what’s happening around you, you won’t fall asleep, and you will remain aware of what’s going on during your procedure.
A few of the best benefits of this sedation method is that side effects are minimal, and the effects of the sedation wear off within a few minutes of the nose mask being removed. You can drive yourself home and get back to your day-to-day routine immediately after your treatment.
Oral conscious sedation uses a strong, pill or liquid sedative that you’ll take about 30-60 minutes before your appointment. Once the sedative takes effect, you’ll begin to feel groggy and tired. In some cases, you may end up falling asleep during your appointment.
With oral conscious sedation, anterograde amnesia is very common. This means you may forget much of your procedure.
Side effects are more prolonged compared to nitrous oxide sedation. Grogginess will likely continue well after your appointment, so you will not be able to drive or operate heavy machinery for a least 4-6 hours. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from our office if you choose oral conscious sedation.
IV sedation uses the same medication as oral conscious sedation, but it is delivered directly into your bloodstream via an IV. This means you’ll be sedated more deeply and the sedation will take effect almost immediately after it’s introduced to your bloodstream.
It’s very common to fall asleep during your treatment with IV sedation. Although you may forget much, if not all, of your procedure, you can still be woken up and respond to commands.
Like oral conscious sedation, you may feel “out of it” for 4-6 hours or longer after your treatment. You will not be able to drive yourself home after your procedure, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from our office on the day of your appointment.
General anesthesia is typically used only for the most invasive dental surgeries, such as jaw surgery. This is because it requires the use of a ventilator to help you breathe, and it will render you completely unconscious — you will not feel anything or remember anything about your procedure.
Therefore, the need for general anesthesia is rare. Routine dental treatments, like tooth extractions, dental crowns, or the placement of dental implants, can be performed with other sedation options.
Laughing gas is safe, effective, and has been used in dentistry since the late 19th century
Primarily, sedation is used to treat dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is a very common issue, and can often prevent patients from getting the dental care they need. If you are anxious or nervous about coming to the dentist, sedation can help you feel more safe and comfortable.
Additionally, sedation helps with pain and discomfort during more invasive procedures, such as tooth extractions and dental implant placement. It also helps you feel more comfortable if you require multiple dental procedures and need to sit still for several hours during treatment.
Going to the dentist early and regularly helps your child become more familiar with the process of regular dental visits, making them less likely to be anxious about going to the dentist as they grow up. Seeing the same dentist regularly throughout your child’s early years will also allow the doctor to become more familiar with your child’s teeth. They’ll be able to identify any potential oral development issues early, and take the proper action to ensure their teeth stay strong and healthy. These regular appointments also encourage children to build better life-long oral health habits.
This depends on the method of sedation you choose. With laughing gas, you will feel light-headed, giggly, and relaxed, but you will be fully conscious and aware of your surroundings. You will also feel less discomfort during treatment.
Oral conscious sedation and IV sedation will usually make you feel groggy and “out of it”. You will likely fall asleep, and probably won’t remember much about your procedure. However, you will not be unconscious, and you can still be woken and respond to commands.
General anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation. You will be completely unconscious and will not feel anything or remember anything from your procedure.
Yes. All methods of sedation dentistry are provided by qualified professionals at our office, and have minimal side effects. While deeper methods of sedation like oral conscious sedation and IV sedation have more prolonged side effects compared to laughing gas, they are still very safe, and they have no serious risks to your health or well-being if you are a good candidate for sedation.
Sedation can be used to control an overactive gag-reflex, fear of needles, or a low-pain threshold.