A Brief Introduction to Dental Sedation

introduction to dental sedationDental sedation isn’t always a routine part of dental treatment, but for patients who experience dental fear and anxiety, it can help them receive the general dental care that they need. For others, dental sedation can help them stay relaxed for longer periods of time in the dentist’s chair, making extensive or complex treatment more manageable. Depending on your level of fear (if any) and the extent of your procedure, we offer a choice of dental sedation methods with varying degrees of potency.

Sedation Methods

Nitrous oxide is the most commonly used dental sedation method, and also produces the mildest effects. As a gas, NO2 is inhaled through the nose and exhaled out of the mouth, rather than entering and circulating through a patient’s system. The enhanced calm will wear off almost immediately when the mask is removed, and you will be clear-headed enough to drive home from your procedure afterwards.

Oral sedation, or oral conscious sedation, is a medication taken in pill or liquid form, and can produce a deeper relaxation than nitrous oxide. You can take the medication shortly before your procedure, and in some cases the night before, as well, and your memory of the procedure may be a little foggy. If you plan on taking oral conscious sedation, then you should also plan on having a responsible adult drive you to and from your appointment.

In rare cases, we may recommend intravenous, or IV, sedation, which is delivered directly into the bloodstream to produce highly potent results. Though IV sedation generates a deep state of relaxation, you will remain conscious and responsive throughout the procedure. Because of its strong effects, you should plan to take the next 24 hours off from work, and do not drive or operate heavy machinery.