Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Have you had a past experience that causes anxiety surrounding dental procedures? You are not alone! We encounter people every day who have some form of dental anxiety. The important thing to know is that you have options!
How is the right sedative option selected?
It is crucial that a thorough review of the patient’s medical history is completed before administering any type of sedation. Depending upon the medical status and the desired level of sedation, the appropriate option can be recommended.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a safe, mild sedative that is delivered to a patient through a nasal hood. A combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen are administered throughout the appointment. In general, the patient’s mood is elevated, anxiety is reduced, and sense of well-being is achieved. You are able to speak, follow commands, and remember your appointment. Once use of nitrous oxide is complete, five minutes of pure oxygen is delivered to flush out any residual gases. Upon dismissal, patients are able to resume normal function.
Oral sedation involves the use of a pill taken a specified amount of time prior to the appointment. Although this type of sedation will not cause you to go to sleep, it will alter your memory of the procedure. If oral sedation is selected for you, you must have a driver bring you to and from your appointment. Your driver must also remain in the building for the duration of your appointment. The effects of oral sedation usually last for a couple of hours.
IV Sedation and General Anesthesia
Sometimes, neither nitrous oxide nor an oral pill will provide adequate sedation for certain patients. If you feel you may need deeper sedation, IV sedation or general anesthesia are options to explore. We can certainly refer you to a specialist who can meet these needs for you.