Patients who tend to be anxious at the prospect of dental procedures often benefit from sedation dentistry. It is a practice by which the dentist uses medication to help a patient relax during dental procedures. Sedation has a calming effect and many times patients do not remember the procedure. Although patients are not technically unconscious, they do often fall asleep giving this form of dentistry an amnestic quality. The three main types of sedation include nitrous oxide, oral sedatives and IV conscious sedation.
Nitrous oxide is often referred to as laughing gas. It is a safe and effective sedative which is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask. The patient breathes in the gas and they usually feel the effects in a few short seconds. Nitrous oxide has a calming effect, but the patient is awake and able to respond to instructions from the dentist. The effects of the gas wear off quickly after the mask is removed and the patient can drive home unassisted.
Oral sedatives are often a pill which is prescribed for the patient to take at an appointed time. Patients may need to prepare in advance to have someone drive them to their appointment since oral sedatives take longer to wear off. They are instructed to take the medication before the procedure so that moderate sedation can be induced. It is possible for the patient to fall asleep during the procedure in which case, they will not remember any of it.
IV sedation is administered directly into a vein. It allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation if necessary. Patients will often need to prepare for this sedation in advance. They may be instructed to fast before the procedure and have someone give them a ride to their appointment. Patients may also fall asleep during IV sedation and it may take some time to wear off.
If you have questions about sedation dentistry, or if you get anxious at the dentist, call our office today. Our experienced staff will put you at ease and take the time to answer all of your questions.