Sedation

What Is The Purpose Of Sedation Dentistry?

While no one would put the dentist’s office on their list of favorite vacation spots, to some patients a trip to the dentist is more than just an inconvenience.  There are patients that experience an overwhelming fear of sitting in that chair.  Perhaps they had a traumatic experience as a child. Maybe they had a painful experience as an adult.  Perhaps they have been scared away from the dentist by inaccurate portrayals in a TV show or movie.  Whatever the reason, these patients may ignore pain and avoid treatment because of the great fear that they have.  This is when sedation dentistry is the solution!

Even for those without an overwhelming fear of the dentist, sedation dentistry allows a dentist the opportunity to perform several procedures in one appointment.  This can reduce the expense and interruption of multiple dentist appointments.  It can also allow the dentist to perform a procedure with multiple steps in a relatively short amount of time.

How Does Sedation Dentistry Resolve My Fears?

Through the use of sedation dentistry, a patient can be calmed and actually largely unaware of the procedure being performed.  There are varying levels of sedation in order to meet the specific level of the patient’s anxiety.  Whatever level is used, the patient will feel no pain and he will be completely relaxed throughout the procedure.  When the appointment is over, he will have basically no memory of the procedure.  Once a patient has experienced sedation dentistry, he is unlikely to avoid coming to the dentist again.

What Are The Levels Of Sedation Dentistry?

Depending on the level of fear and the complexity of the necessary dental procedure, there are varying levels of sedation available.

Minimal sedation provides relief from anxiety both before and during the exam.  The patient will be awake and able to respond both verbally and physically as the dentist directs.  The patient will be calm but able to remember at least parts of the procedure.

Moderate (conscious) sedation relaxes the patient to a greater degree than minimal sedation, but the patient will still have the ability to respond to a greater degree of stimulation from within his environment.  He may slur his words and he will typically not remember much of the appointment.

Deep sedation is generally for those with the overwhelming fear of the dentist’s office.  This places the patient in a barely conscious state, but a state from which he can still be awakened. During this sedation, the patient will not be aware of anything that is occurring during the procedure and will not remember the dental procedure at all.

What Are The Different Types Of Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation is used to relieve minor levels of anxiety and to help patients who have trouble getting numb.  The patient will need to take a small pill about an hour before the appointment.  He will need to be accompanied to the office, and he will be slightly drowsy by the time he gets to the office.  The patient will be escorted by our staff to the dentist’s chair.  When the procedure is over, he will need to be accompanied home and he may wish to take a short nap.

Intravenous (IV) Conscious Sedation is used for more severe levels of anxiety.  The drugs are administered through an IV at the office.  This allows the doctor to administer precisely the amount that the patient needs.  The patient is monitored throughout the dental appointment.  He will still be awake and able to follow instructions, but he will have no memory of the procedure. The dentists on staff are specifically trained and certified to administer IV sedation.

Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”, is the most common form of sedation currently used.  This colorless, odorless gas produces a feeling of well being in a short measure of time. The dentist will perform his procedure and then easily bring the patient back to normal.  Within a short time the patient will be able to drive himself home.