If you struggle with the thought of going to the dentist, you are not alone. A lot of people are nervous about stepping foot into a dentist office. Ultimately, the avoidance can lead to advanced disease and the need for extensive treatments that could have been prevented with more regular dental exams and cleanings. For those who avoid going to the dentist, sedation dentistry may be a great option. Sedation dentistry is also great for patients with a strong gag reflex or for anyone who needs to complete multiple procedures in one sitting. Patients with special needs may also benefit from sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although that is not entirely true. Patients are not completely unconscious; many patients tend to be so relaxed they may take a nap through their dental appointment.
We offer three different types of sedation dentistry:
Nitrous Oxide Sedation – During your procedure you breathe nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
Oral Sedation – Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate sedation. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. The pill will make you drowsy, although you will still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the most common type of anesthesia associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. Patients can usually be awakened with a gentle shake.
IV Sedation – Our dentists have special training that allows them to administer sedation medications intravenously. Therefore, you will receive the sedative through a vein in your hand or arm, so it goes to work more quickly. IV sedation allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation. This method is especially beneficial when sitting through more than one treatment or if you have a strong gag reflex.
Sedation dentistry in not for everyone. In fact, many of our patients with some dental anxiety decide not to use sedation dentistry. These patients often tell us that our caring, gentle approach provides them with a relaxing, pleasant experience even without sedation. The choice is really yours.
Please contact us to see if sedation dentistry may be appropriate for your situation. We will gladly discuss your needs.