Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking. However, sedation dentistry is the perfect way to make your visit a more relaxed and pleasant experience. Read on to learn more about sedation dentistry, as well as the different methods we can use to manage anxieties and fears about dental work.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation Dentistry is the practice of using medication to help manage pain, discomfort or anxiety during dental procedures. There are several types of sedatives, varying in how they are administered and how strong their effects are. The four main sedatives used in sedation dentistry are:
- Nitrous Oxide: Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a gas that is inhaled through a small mask. The lightest and most common form of sedation, it is often used with local anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort. It is the most popular form of sedation due to its safety, accessibility, and short-term effects.
- Oral: Oral sedatives are taken via a pill or liquid that is swallowed by the patient. This may be done up to an hour before treatment, and can provide strong, long lasting effects while still allowing you to stay awake.
- IV: IV sedatives are delivered directly to the bloodstream via injection. IVs provide fast, powerful effects due to the speed in which they are absorbed. IVs also provide a large degree of control over the dosage. They are often used for longer, more intricate procedures and surgeries.
- General Anesthesia: The deepest form of sedation, general anesthesia is delivered to the bloodstream by injection or inhalation. It is typically used for more intensive dental surgeries like wisdom teeth removal.
Is Sedation a Good Option For Me?
There are a number of reasons why sedation may be recommended for procedures. Anxiety and restlessness may prevent you from staying still while in the dentist’s chair. A low pain tolerance, sensitive teeth, or weak gag reflex may also make dental work uncomfortable. While not all dental work requires sedation, it can be a good way to ensure maximum comfort and stability.
Consulting with your dentist is the best way to determine how much and what kind of sedation you may need. Sedation levels vary depending on the type of operation being performed and the comfort level of the patient. Something like having a cavity filled may require some light numbing, while major surgeries like wisdom tooth removal may have you “going under” using anesthesia.
Before and After Your Visit
Depending on the process used, you may need to prepare before your visit. This can include fasting and avoiding the use of substances that may interfere with sedatives. Your dentist will inform you of any preparations in advance, as well as provide any medication to take beforehand.
After an operation, some sedatives will take some time for their effects to wear off. Recovery time may last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after the procedure. It is recommended to have a partner or friend assist your recovery and to provide transportation after your procedure.
Want to Learn More?
If you would like to know more about sedation dentistry, Savannah Dental Solutions can help. We will directly address your concerns, relieve your fears, and make your visit a positive experience. Call us at (912) 354-1366 to schedule a consultation.
Although modern dentistry techniques have rendered dental procedures virtually pain-free, dental anxiety and even phobias are surprisingly common. In fact, many people put off needed dental work solely due to their fear of the dentist. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help. From mild sedation to take the edge off through general anesthesia, sedation dentistry is an excellent way to face your dental fears. It is also a great choice for those whose busy schedules require multiple procedures to be done at the same time.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the mildest form of dental sedation. You will wear a mask over your nose to deliver a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Your dentist will control the ratio of nitrous oxide, and you can always remove the mask if you do not like the way you feel. This ability to control the sedation makes nitrous oxide a good solution for those with a fear of being “put under.” In addition, nitrous oxide wears off very quickly, making it safe for you to drive yourself home after your procedure.
While under the influence of nitrous oxide, you will be aware of what is going on. You can respond to your dentist’s instructions, and will know that you are having a dental procedure. However, you will be deeply relaxed and unafraid.
Oral sedation comes in the form of a pill, such as Valium or Halcion. Depending on the dose you are prescribed, you might feel minimally or moderately sedated. You can respond to instructions, but typically have little conscious awareness of exactly how your procedure is progressing. Some people under oral sedation relax enough to fall asleep, but are easily awakened.
Because oral sedation can leave you feeling groggy, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home. Bring a friend or relative to your appointment to give you a ride.
IV sedation ranges from moderate to deep, depending on exactly what medication and dosage are used. Your dentist will control the level of sedation based on your health history and current needs. With IV sedation, you will probably feel very tired and a bit “out of it.” Falling asleep is extremely common, though you can be aroused quickly.
If you are receiving IV sedation, you may not have anything to eat for at least 6 hours prior to your appointment. In addition, you cannot drive for the rest of the day. Bring someone who can take you home and, if possible, remain with you for several hours. You will likely spend most of your time sleeping, and having someone nearby to care for you can make you more comfortable.
Just like any other surgery, dental surgery can be performed under general anesthesia. You will be completely unconscious, and cannot be awakened until the anesthesia wears off. Your vital signs will be carefully monitored, and you will not be sent home until you are fully awake.
General anesthesia requires an empty stomach. Do not eat or drink for 6 hours before your appointment. You may not drive for 24 hours after general anesthesia. Bring a relative or friend to drive you home and care for you until the residual effects of the anesthesia wear off.
Regardless of which type of sedation you select, your tooth will be thoroughly numbed. You do not have to worry about feeling pain or discomfort from the procedure. Depending on exactly what procedure was done and your own personal needs, you might also be sent home with prescribed pain medications. The best way to minimize pain during healing is to stay ahead of it, so be sure to take your medications as instructed.
Sedation dentistry is a popular option for both adults and children with severe dental anxiety, as well as those who will have extensive work done in a single appointment. However, it is not right for everyone. We will assess your current overall health and any medications you are currently taking, and make a professional recommendation. We are one of the few dental offices in the state certified to administer all levels of dental sedation.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.
Complete Comfort During Your Dental Care with Sedation Dentistry
We understand that a trip to the dentist can be a difficult experience for some people. Shots, drills, and the use of all the necessary instruments can create anxiety. But now, we can alleviate all the fears and worries of the dentally challenged. With conscious sedation dentistry, these patients will become calm and not remember the treatment.
With just a single pill you take an hour before your appointment, you will begin to feel increasingly relaxed as you sit down in the dental chair. Gradually, your sedation will deepen, but you are still conscious enough to answer questions from the doctor. You will be put on a monitor for observation of your vital signs throughout the treatment. When the procedure is completed, a friend or family member will drive you home. After about an hour, you will be back to normal.
Unlike sedation for surgery, you are not totally unconscious, just unaware of the work being performed. This level of sedation works well for those who have a greater fear of being completely “put under.” This fear is typically based on relinquishing control. That’s why conscious sedation works well for most patient anxieties.
Other patients may need to have more work completed in a single visit. They cannot make repeated visits to the dentist, so accomplishing more work in one longer visit with suitable sedation accommodates their needs. And then some patients are resistant to anesthesia and need conscious sedation in addition to the regular anesthesia to have dental work performed.
We are one of the few practices in the state qualified to administer a full range of sedation options, including IV sedation. We also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for lighter sedation. We offer this array of options to let all of our patients feel comfortable and relaxed throughout their dental treatments.
Savannah Dental Solutions
Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel
9A Medical Arts Center
Savannah, GA 31405
Phone: (912) 354-1366