If you’re nervous or uncomfortable about an upcoming visit to the dentist, dental sedation can help. With the proper form of sedation, you can decrease anxiety and relax in a state where you’re less aware of the procedure.
Sedation dentistry is a great option if you would like to complete multiple treatments in one extended appointment, North Shore Dental Group is pleased to offer you all three levels of sedation dentistry for your choice and comfort.
A patient of ours was really anxious and scared before her wisdom tooth extraction. She had a great experience at our practice and was feeling great after her treatment.
Learn more about your options for light to moderate sedation for your next dental appointment.
One small pill, taken before coming to your appointment, can reduce your dental anxiety and your memory of the appointment. Though you will be fully conscious and able to respond to our team, you will remember little to nothing of the appointment.
Though not an anesthetic, nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas), acts as a way to reduce your anxiety in the dental chair. Nitrous oxide, combined with oxygen, is inhaled right before your dental treatment, causing you to feel more relaxed.
Understanding Dental Sedation
Dental sedation helps patients relax during procedures that could otherwise be stressful for them. There are many instances where you might want sedation for your dental visit. Consider this option if you’re dealing with:
- Long or complex procedures.
- An extended visit where you want to accomplish several procedures at once.
Dentalanxiety that makes it difficult to go to the dentist.
Sedation makes you less aware of the procedure, so you don’t notice the same level of pain or discomfort as you might without sedation. Many forms of sedation will also provide a mild amnesia, which makes it difficult to remember the procedure at all.
What Is Conscious Oral Sedation?
Conscious oral sedation relies on an oral sedative to help you relax during your dental procedure. This is one of the simplest forms of sedation, as all you need to do is take a single pill. This is typically administered about an hour before the procedure. This sedation makes you groggy and sleepy, but it allows you to stay conscious and respond to your dental team as needed.
Conscious oral sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as sleep dentistry, but this isn’t entirely accurate. While this pill often makes patients relaxed enough to sleep through the procedure, they’re not under total sedation and can typically be woken with a simple shake. Depending on the dosage, conscious oral sedation can be light enough for you to stay alert. If your dentist increases the dose to a moderate level of sedation, you can communicate, but you might slur your words. You typically will not remember much of the procedure.
Dentists typically use a medication known as Halcion for conscious oral sedation. This pill is in the same family as Valium. The benefit of this sedation is that it’s easy to administer and leaves you awake through the procedure. The drawback is that you cannot drive home from your appointment. It takes you longer to recover, as you’ll need to allow the sedation to wear off before you can resume normal activities.
What Is Nitrous Oxide Sedation?
Also known as inhaled minimal sedation, nitrous oxide sedation is administered through an oxygen mask. With this type of sedation, you inhale a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen. This substance is also known as laughing gas for the lighthearted feeling of euphoria it can give patients as they begin to relax. You don’t perceive pain to the same degree as you would without the sedation, though you’re still conscious throughout the procedure.
Nitrous oxide sedation works quickly, but it also clears the system quickly. Once the mask is removed, you will begin to feel normal again. Some patients can drive themselves home after the procedure when only nitrous oxide sedation is administered.
What Is IV Sedation?
With IV sedation, your dentist has a high level of control over how conscious you are. The IV medication can be adjusted continuously throughout the procedure to achieve the appropriate degree of sedation. IV sedation is considered a moderate level of sedation and is not the same as general anesthesia, in which a patient is made completely unconscious and unable to respond.
General anesthesia comes with a number of potential complications and involves a longer recovery time. With moderate IV sedation, your dentist can administer enough medication to calm your anxiety, diminish your gag reflex, and help you forget about the procedure. Amnesia is common with IV sedation. Though patients maintain a semi-awake state through the procedure, they rarely remember it.
IV sedation typically has a shorter recovery time than both general anesthesia and oral sedation. Though you should have someone available to drive you home, you should regain full consciousness and alertness shortly after the procedure.
Not all dentists are qualified to offer IV sedation, as it’s more difficult to administer than other options. However, this is one of the best choices for those with severe anxiety. If you choose to use IV sedation for your procedure, it’s important that you follow all your dentist’s instructions regarding preparation. Patients are typically asked to refrain from eating or drinking for eight hours before the procedure to ensure the sedation works properly.
If you are interested in using dental sedation for an upcoming procedure, talk with your dentist about the options. Not all practices offer dental sedation. At North Shore Dental Group, we provide all three of the above sedation options. Talk to your dentist to determine which one is best-suited to your individual needs.