Your Guide To Sedation Dentistry

Many people shy away from the dentist because of anxiety and phobias. Even if you don't get nervous, long appointments can be stressful and uncomfortable. Luckily, many dentists offer sedation dentistry options to help you relax. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

What Is Sedation Dentistry? 

As the name suggests, sedation dentistry is simply dentistry while you are sedated. The common forms include,

  • Inhalation sedation
  • Oral sedation
  • IV sedation

You may know of inhalation sedation as "laughing gas" or nitrous oxide. If you choose nitrous oxide, you'll breathe a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide during the entire procedure. If you choose oral sedation, you'll need to take the pill before the appointment. Finally, with IV sedation, sedatives are applied via an IV.

Nitrous oxide and oral sedation are less intense than IV sedation. Also, you can combine some sedation options, such as taking an oral sedative and using nitrous oxide.

What Happens During Sedation Dentistry?

Most sedation dentistry options are "awake sedation". For this reason, unlike general anesthesia, they are not designed to knock you unconscious. They make you sleepy and groggy, so you may fall asleep. However, you can easily hear/understand the dentist and follow instructions.

The benefit of sedation is that it makes the entire procedure seem dreamlike. As a result, sedation dentistry can:

  • Make you less aware of the procedure
  • Make time seem like it passes quicker  
  • Leave you with little to no memory of the procedure
  • May help relieve some discomfort

As a result, sedation dentistry is a great idea if you struggle with general anxiety or dental-related phobias. In addition, sedation allows for longer treatments with less discomfort.

How Long Does Sedation Last?

Some forms of sedation can last a while. For example, oral sedation can still affect you up to eight hours after consuming the medication. Similarly, IV sedation can affect you much or all day. The effects of nitrous oxide, however, start to wear off as soon as you stop inhaling the gas.

For this reason, you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure if you choose oral or IV sedation. If you choose nitrous oxide, you can drive home, go to work, etc.

Sedation dentistry can make dental appointments much better. Not only will you feel relaxed, but time seems to pass faster. If you would like to know more, contact a dentist in your area today.