Imagine undergoing a complex dental treatment such as a root canal, extraction, or implant placement, but when your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the noises that were created or injections that were given.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows our doctors to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:
- No memory of undergoing the procedure
- No sense of time while under sedation
- No sense of smell or sound
- No fear or anxiety during treatment
Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it is a simple, relaxing way to experience dentistry.
I am nervous about being unconscious; what levels of sedation are available to me?
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which we can provide your needed dental treatment: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
- Minimal Sedation — Also called Anxiolysis, it is the lightest form of sedation dentistry. It is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex conditions. Minimal sedation is usually administered orally. You remain awake but sleepy throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another agent of minimal sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.
- Moderate Oral Sedation — Used for longer or more complex procedures. Moderate oral sedation uses a combination of oral medication and nitrous oxide. An escort/driver is required.
- Moderate IV Sedation — Used for shorter surgical procedures. With moderate sedation, you will remain conscious throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation and many times will have limited to no memory of the treatment. An escort/driver is required.
- Deep Sedation — Patients who receive deep sedation most commonly are unconscious during their dental procedures with no memory of the treatment. An escort/driver is required.
General Anesthesia — We also partner with Premier Dental Anesthesia to provide in-office general anesthesia administered by a physician anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist. Although this is the same anesthesia method used in hospital operating rooms, it can be completed in the dental office for patient convenience and lower expense.
How are sedatives administered?
- Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing minimal or moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately even driving yourself to and from the appointment.
- Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. You will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before your appointment, will have you fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.
- IV — This sedation technique is very fast and more predictable than oral sedation. Nitrous oxide is administered before starting the IV for patient comfort. This form provides more dependable amnesia of the treatment.
Common Questions About Sedation Dentistry
We understand that you may have many questions about sedation dentistry before receiving treatment. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about sedation dentistry:
Will I feel anything during my treatment?
In all anesthesia options, local anesthesia is still given so that patients do not feel anything. Patients wake up feeling relaxed and comfortable with little to no memory of the treatment.
Is sedation dentistry the same as being unconscious?
It depends. Depending on the level of sedation you elect to have, you may be conscious and responsive in a deep state of relaxation or completely unconscious.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
We have been providing sedation since our doors opened in 2008. Sedation dentistry is an extremely safe and effective. You and your Plaza doctor will decide what sedation is best for your situation.
How long will it take the sedation to wear off?
The time it takes for the sedatives to wear off depends on the type of sedation, dose given and length of treatment. It is required to have an adult driver to and from your appointment. After your treatment, you should not drive, drink alcohol or engage in dangerous activity for 24 hours.
Am I a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
If you have any of the following fears or concerns, ask your doctor about sedation dentistry as an option for your next dental treatment:
- Extreme dental anxiety, or fear of visiting the dentist
- Fear of needles and/or shots
- Past traumatic dental experience
- Inability to handle the smells or noises at a dentist's office
- Overly sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or trouble getting numb
- Need for a more complex dental treatment
- Desire for a more comfortable dental treatment
If you feel that you could benefit from sedation dentistry at your next appointment, please contact us and let us know how we can better accommodate your needs.
Your comfort is so important to our staff and doctors. Contact Plaza Dental Group to schedule an exam, learn more about sedation dentistry and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for you.