Sedation Dentistry

sedation dentistry

Imagine undergoing a complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction or oral surgery. When your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort you were experiencing.

We are pleased to offer our patients the option of comfortable, safe and effective sedation dentistry. Patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:

  • Fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
  • Difficulty sitting still for protracted periods of time
  • A difficult time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows a doctor 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 dental treatments.

I am nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available to me?

There is no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our practice. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you will find we are both respectful and professional at all times.

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which we can administer your treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation and deep sedation.

  • Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry. It is often used for patients with mild anxiety, shorter procedures or less complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally. You remain awake or very sleepy like in a "twilight" state throughout the entire procedure, and are able to breathe on your own, but you will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.
  • Moderate Sedation — Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and who have longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, you will remain awake throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation. It is recommended that patients who receive conscious sedation have a parent, spouse or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and it might by unsafe to drive afterwards.
  • Deep Sedation — Patients receiving deep sedation drift between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. They often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure. It is recommended that patients who receive deep sedation have a parent, spouse or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off, and once again driving may be unsafe.

How are sedatives administered?

  • Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas is the most frequently used method for easing mild-to-moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately afterwards.
  • Oral — An extremely common sedative technique 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.
  • Intramuscular (IM) — Intramuscular sedation, which involves an injection of sedative drugs into the muscles of the upper arm or upper thigh, can result in sedation within a short amount of time.

Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method would be right for you.