What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Occasionally a patient may become anxious and cannot relax during an office visit. As many as 30% of adults in America are afraid of needles. Sedation dentistry offers these dental patients a safe and effective alternative through sedation dentistry.
There are three forms of conscious sedation that allow a patient to relax and/or become sleepy. Forms of conscious sedation may involve nitrous oxide analgesia, taking an oral medication or receiving medication intravenously. In our office we offer nitrous oxide and oral medication. If our patients need IV sedation we refer to our Oral Surgeon and it is done in a hospital setting for safety.
One of the benefits of sedation dentistry is that it reduces movement during dental procedure making it easier on us and you. Sedation dentistry relaxes the patient and allows those who might avoid a dental visit a safe and anxiety-free alternative. If you are hesitant about scheduling your next visit, consider sedation dentistry. Ask us for more information, and we will be sure to put your mind at ease.
Laughing Gas: Nitrous Oxide for Sedation
The calming inhalant known as laughing gas is for patients who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their anxieties so that they can relax and undergo treatment comfortably and safely. The gas is administered by placing a small hood over the patient's nose. As the gas takes effect, the patient becomes relaxed, but is still awake and can communicate. When the gas is turned off, the effects of sedation wear off almost immediately.
Patients who are more anxious may need an oral medication that is stronger than nitrous oxide. With oral sedation, the patient may be sleepy but can be aroused and will respond to simple commands. Some oral sedation pills will affect memory and patient may feel as though they have been asleep. Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some medications. Before a visit in which a patient is to receive oral sedation, he/she will receive instructions about eating and drinking, what to expect and what to watch for after treatment. You will need assistance to get home after sedation.
All oral sedation patients must have a friend or relative bring them to their appointment and pick them up at its completion. Additionally, patients should not eat 6 hours prior to the appointment. All patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian if anesthetic/sedation is administered.
Sedation Dentistry FAQs
Can I drive home?
With Nitrous Oxide the effects can be reversed quickly so recovery time is minimal and driving is not an issue. With oral medication the effects last many hours and driving is not safe. We will call your ride at the end of your appointment to bring you home. You should not plan to do anything but sleep for the rest of the day. By the next morning you will feel normal, rested, and ready to get on with your life.
How safe is oral sedation?
Properly administered oral sedation is the safest form of sedation. We use sophisticated monitoring equipment during all procedures and you are always attended by a trained doctor or staff member.
Is sedation dentistry expensive?
No. There is a sedation fee to cover the expense of the drugs and the monitoring, but we don't try to profit from sedation. Our profit (and yours) is in your comfort and in the quality of your care.
What is the medication?
One of many safe and widely-used sleeping pills will be used. In certain cases, nitrous oxide gas may also be used as an additional medication.
Will I be asleep?
Most people do doze during their appointment, but you can be awakened with the type of sedation we use. Some medications affect your memory and you may feel like you’ve been put to sleep, but you will always be breathing on your own unlike general anesthesia. Our goal is to keep you relaxed an comfortable during your appointment
Will you use local anesthetic (Novocain)?
Always. Oral sedation is not general anesthesia. Treatment is no different than if you were not sedated. The difference is that you will be much more relaxed, memory of the procedure will be minimal and the time will seem to fly by.
Would I be unusual in wanting sedation?
Not at all. Oral sedation in our office is very popular for surgery, for long appointments and for complicated procedures as well as for basic dental anxiety.