Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry allows our patients to relax during their dental procedures. Fear and anxiety can prevent patients from seeking the care they need, leading to severe dental health problems in the future. Read on to learn more.

There are several types of sedation, including inhaled nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, and intravenous (IV) sedation. Which one is best for you depends on your unique needs, medical history, and tolerance to different medications.

Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a safe sedative that has been used in dentistry for centuries. It works within a few minutes and wears off quickly once your appointment is over. The sedation helps calm patients and relieves anxiety during procedures. It is a good choice for short-term treatments and young children but does not work well for those with underlying medical conditions.

Laughing gas is an odorless, colorless gas that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a nosepiece. You will feel a tingling sensation in your hands and feet, and a general feeling of relaxation. Unlike oral sedation, laughing gas does not put you to sleep, but you may feel lightheaded or experience a buzz-like effect.

Laughing gas is not appropriate for women in their first trimester of pregnancy, respiratory issues, or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency (anemia). This type of sedation will also affect your ability to drive. Talk to your dentist about your options if you have any health concerns.

Oral Sedation

Medications given orally allow patients to feel drowsy, but they remain conscious and able to respond to questions. Oral sedation is often used for children with fears of going to the dentist or who have difficulty sitting still during dental appointments.

Oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the dose of medication taken. Patients under moderate sedation may not remember their appointment, but they can be easily awakened with a gentle shake.

Before giving oral sedation, dentists will carefully review a patient’s medical history to ensure the medication won’t interact negatively with any other medications or chronic health conditions. For most sedation dentistry treatments, a patient will need to bring a trusted friend or family member to drive them home afterward, as the effects of sedation can last a while. It is important to choose a dental practice that specializes in sedation dentistry, as a dentist with experience is better equipped to provide the safest possible care for their patients.

IV Sedation

IV Sedation is the next step if oral or laughing gas sedatives don’t produce an adequate calming effect. This method of sedation is administered directly into the bloodstream through a vein in your arm. This allows the dentist to continually control your level of sedation throughout your treatment.

Unlike general anesthesia, you remain in a semi-awake state with this type of sedation and will respond to verbal cues from the dentist. You may also have little or no memory of the procedure when you awaken.

Patients who receive IV sedation should be accompanied to their appointment by a friend or family member to drive them home after the appointment. It can take a few hours for the sedative to wear off so you will likely feel groggy until then. During this time, you should avoid strenuous activity, unapproved medications, and alcohol consumption. It is important to follow all post-procedure instructions from the dentist to prevent complications.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is an inhalation sedative that has been used for over 150 years. It is safe, reliable, and effective for a number of dental procedures.

With this form of sedation, patients will breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask placed over their nose. Oftentimes, a patient will be able to drive home after their appointment, as the effects of this method of sedation wear off quickly.

Nitrous oxide is great for nervous patients, children with anxiety about their dental visits, and patients who have low pain tolerance or sensitive gag reflexes. It is also helpful for patients with developmental disabilities and special needs.

Patients who opt for nitrous oxide should make arrangements with a friend or family member to drive them home after their appointment. This is to ensure the sedative doesn’t affect them while driving or put them at risk for any injuries that could result from it. Click here for the next blog post.