There are many people who avoid regular dental care because of the anxiety and even fear that they feel when going to the dentist. Fortunately, sedation dentistry is changing the way many patients view dental visits. Patients who have had difficulty with even the most routine dental procedures now have the confidence to come in for longer and more complex treatment. Depending on your level of anxiety, a specific sedation regimen will be administered to help you relax and manage treatment anxiety. So don’t let lengthy procedure times, dental phobias, or fear caused by negative experiences in the past keep you from receiving the treatment you need.
Did you know…
There are three main categories of sedation used in dentistry? You can opt for sedation administered in one of the following ways::
- Oral Sedation – A medication, usually in pill or liquid form, is given prior to treatment to alleviate anxiety and help you relax. Many patients will experience the added benefit of short term amnesia and will remember little or nothing about the appointment.
- Inhalation Sedation – Often referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide offers a calming feeling of euphoria that can make dental visits more pleasant.
- IV Sedation – This is a deeper level of sedation that is generally reserved for those patients who require little or no memory of their dental visits. The sedative is administered Intravenously throughout the appointment, as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Come in and let us help determine if sedation is right for you. Because there are various modes of administration and levels of sedation, we will need to consult with you to discuss whether light, moderate or deep sedation can best meet your needs. Your eligibility for sedation will depend on your age, health, and any other medications you may be taking.
Depending on the type of sedation used at your appointment, your experience will vary.
If you choose Inhalation Sedation, you’ll be fitted with a breathing mask and asked to inhale nitrous oxide gas throughout your procedure, keeping you in a state of calm euphoria. The effects of nitrous oxide are felt in as little as 3 to 5 minutes and at the conclusion of your treatment, you’ll be given oxygen to help bring you out of your mildly sedated state.
Oral sedation usually involves fasting for a period of 6-8 hours, then taking a prescribed medication an hour prior to your appointment. Often, more medication will be given at the appointment, while under the direct supervision of your dentist. The dosage can be adjusted to your desired level of sedation and is very effective at helping patients relax during their appointments.
If IV sedation is the best option for you, you’ll be instructed to avoid foods and beverages for at least 8 hours prior to your appointment. A sedative will be administered to you intravenously prior to your procedure, causing you to fall into a deep sleep. A dental anesthesiologist will administer the drug and monitor you throughout the procedure to adjust dosages as needed to keep you safe and comfortable.
Depending on the type of sedation you undergo, you may need to plan ahead. For both Moderate and Deep levels of Sedation you will be required to have someone bring you to and pick you up from your appointment. Plan to allow time for recovery after your appointment. You will likely need 12 to 24 hours before you can return to regular activity. It will be important to drink plenty of fluids during this recovery time to ensure proper hydration and increased metabolism of the sedative drugs.