Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for those who may be uncomfortable receiving dental treatment. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding the common apprehension known as dental phobia.
Sedation dentistry has occasionally been dubbed sleep dentistry, but this term is misleading. In actual fact, you do not sleep during the procedure, but because of the effects produced by the sedative, you may feel sleepy. Sedation dentistry enables you to be kept awake throughout the entire procedure, but you will feel relaxed and likely won’t remember much about your treatment.
There are three different levels of sedation dentistry: nitrous oxide, oral sedation and conscious IV sedation.
Nitrous Oxide is a safe, sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. It has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. With nitrous oxide, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide. The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
Oral sedation is commonly the administration of anti-anxiety medicine by mouth prior to the patient’s dental appointment. This medicine gives an even deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide and in many cases the patient forgets what is going on around him. At our practice, the medicine is administered on premises and monitoring following current medical guidelines is started immediately. Patients are required to not eat or drink for 6 hours prior to appointment and must have a responsible adult to escort them after the procedure.
IV Conscious Sedation
Two of our doctors are also certified to administer IV conscious sedation. This is the administration of anti-anxiety medicine directly into the patient’s system which causes a more immediate and deeper level of sedation. This procedure also requires monitoring by the doctors, an escort, and that the patient does not eat or drink for 6 hours prior to the appointment.