Do you dread going to the dentist? Did an experience as a child create a dental few you can't get rid of? Do you have:
- A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
- A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
- A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics
Sedation dentistry may be for you.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows your doctor to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it is a simple, relaxing way to experience dentistry.
I am nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available to me?
Sedation dentistry typically is not about being unconscious, but more about being relaxed and comfortable.
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation. In a dental setting, mild sedation is most often used and what we can provide in our office. If moderate or deep sedation are required, we can help you find an appropriate provider.
- Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild-moderate anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally or through inhalation. You remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breathe on your own, but you will feel a great sense of relaxation.
- Patients typically recover from oral anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. The medication is prescribed to take prior to you appointment and you must have a driver to and from the office.
- Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment. This is very safe and effective. The great thing about nitrous oxide sedation is that it works only while you are using it. After the treatment is completed you will breath pure oxygen for several minutes and typically be ready to go about your day. Generally, no driver needed to and from the appointment with nitrous oxide sedation.
- Moderate Sedation — Used for patients with moderate-severe dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, you will remain awake throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation. A driver is required to and from the appointment. It is recommended that patients who receive conscious sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
- Deep Sedation — Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure. A driver is required to and from the appointment. It is recommended that patients who receive deep sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
How are sedatives administered?
- Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
- Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. You will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before your appointment, will have you fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.
- IV- Used for deeper sedation and control of medications.
Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for you.