Types of Sedation Dentistry and Their Benefits

dental visit

Many young and adult dental patients experience some level of fear and anxiety when preparing for treatment. However, some people are more anxious than others, probably due to a past unpleasant experience, frightening stories told by family or friends, a sensitive gag reflex, or even by the nature of the expected dental procedure or dental tools – smells, sounds, and so on.  

Regardless of the cause, anxiety or fear can lead to many unpleasant effects such as insomnia, high blood pressure, upset stomach, and heart palpitations the night before your appointment. Moreover, delaying dental checkups and/or treatment can worsen the problem, resulting in costly and more intensive emergency dental care.

Sedation dentistry can help you relax and receive the dental care you need. Options range from limited conscious sedation, where you’re awake but in a euphoric, dream-like state during the procedure, to general anesthesia, where you’re asleep for the entire procedure.

Options for sedation dentistry

Conscious sedation is intended to reduce sensations, so you’re awake and completely relaxed. You may even fall asleep, but will be able to hear your dentist’s instructions and respond appropriately. There’s no fear for waking up at the middle of the procedure because our team will be constantly monitoring your level of consciousness throughout the treatment.

Options for conscious and deep sedation include:

  • Oral sedation – a pill that you take one hour (or so) before treatment to induce limited consciousness
  • Local anesthetic – this numbing agent is used to block any feelings of discomfort or pain from the treatment site. You may experience mild pressure during the procedure, but there’s no pain.
  • Nitrous oxide – laughing gas is administered through a mask that lets you inhale the gas and relax. The effect is easily induced and stopped as soon as the mask is removed.
  • IV sedation – this is the strongest form of sedation. It is administered through the veins to achieve moderate to deep sedation. In deep sedation, you will be asleep and won’t be able to remember the treatment afterwards.

If dental anxiety has prevented you from keeping your dental appointments, sedation dentistry can help to ensure that you or an anxious loved one receives the treatment they need while feeling safe and comfortable.

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