Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry Options 

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people 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. Oral sedation (pill form) dentistry is now the most common technique of sedation dentistry used in the United States to quell patient fears. Best of all, the medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit; it is as if they slept throughout the treatment. In reality, oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation.

If you are going to be medicating with oral sedation, it is important to have a responsible adult drive you to and from your appointment, as well as stay with you for an additional 2-4 hours once you get home.

Benefits of Oral Sedation: 

One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it may have taken hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as "Smile Makeovers"  or extensive restorative procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments.

If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of.

Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care.  As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point where drastic dental treatments become necessary.

Oral sedation is not for young children.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," is used for its calming effect. It's a colorless, almost odorless gas that is combined with oxygen, then administered to you through a small mask that covers your nose. It can help to relax you, ease your fear and make you feel more comfortable during your dental treatment.

Nitrous oxide also helps increase your tolerance for lengthy dental procedures, and while it doesn't make any part of your mouth numb, it can decrease your perception of discomfort. There are a few situations where we can't use nitrous oxide, such as if you are pregnant or have an inner ear infection. 

The more deeply you breathe through your nose, the more you'll feel the effects of nitrous. We can also adjust the levels to make you more comfortable. Your normal reflexes will all be intact, and you will be able to communicate with us during your treatment. Nitrous oxide is not a replacement for a local anesthetic, so the area in your mouth that needs to be treated will still need to be numbed.  When we turn the nitrous off, and you are receiving pure oxygen through your mask, the effects of the nitrous will quickly subside. You can safely drive after your dental appointment.

Nitrous Oxide and Children

Nausea is an occasional side effect of nitrous oxide in children. If you anticipate that your child will need nitrous oxide, please ensure that they have little or no food prior to treatment. Be sure to tell us if your child is prone to motion sickness, has a respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult or is taking medication.  

The Effects of Nitrous Oxide  

  • Mild tingling in your hands and feet.
  • Warm sensations throughout your body.
  • The feeling of drifting or floating.
  • A disconnection from what is going on around you.
  • A dreamlike state. 

Contact our Sisters dental office if you have any questions or would like to know if sedation dentistry is right for you.