Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can be the key to proper oral care for anxious patients

A significant number of Americans suffer from dental anxiety and put themselves at risk of developing serious oral and overall health conditions by avoiding regular dental checkups. Fortunately, sedation dentistry is an excellent option for safe, anxiety-free dental visits.

Nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and IV sedation work to calm anxiety throughout visits to the Doctor, ensuring that Fairfield patients get the treatment they need without feeling physical pain or mental anxiety.

Sedation dentistry’s popularity stems in part from the fact that most sedatives can be taken orally, meaning fewer injections, reduced anxiety and no pain. Many sedatives are so effective that patients are unable to recall even the smells and other details of their procedure afterward.

Benefits of sedation dentistry include:

  • Safe and effective sedation
  • Reduced anxiety
  • No pain
  • No needles
  • Increased compliance: Though you may not remember your procedure, you will be awake and able to follow instructions
  • Few side effects

Oral conscious sedation options are chosen based on procedure duration

Most sedation dentistry drugs are classified as benzodiazepines, which reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each variety of benzodiazepine lasts a different amount of time, which means different varieties are selected for different procedures.

These varieties include:

  • Valium®: This sedative is often used for complex and lengthy procedures. It has amnesic properties, meaning patients often don’t recall many details of their procedure.
  • Halcion®: This sedative is often chosen for shorter procedures. It has amnesic properties and is often used to treat insomnia.
  • Ativan®: This sedative has a mid-range half-life and is used for treatments lasting up to two hours. It has amnesiac properties.
  • Versed®: This sedative is not commonly used due to its extremely short half-life. It has anxiety-relieving properties similar to nitrous oxide and is used for procedures lasting under 30 minutes.

No matter which form of sedation dentistry you undergo, it is essential to bring a caregiver or designated driver with you to your procedure. Driving to and from the Doctor’s office is not recommended when sedatives will be used.

A variety of sedatives are available to meet your needs

Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) may be selected on an individual basis. the Doctor consider your treatment, your medical history — taking into account your current prescriptions — and other variables before choosing your sedation method.

Sedation dentistry options include:

  • Nitrous oxide: Also known as laughing gas, this is a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood and administered from start to finish. Nitrous oxide can relieve anxiety, reduce pain and elevate your sense of wellbeing. While you may feel tingling or numbness, there are few other side effects associated with nitrous oxide, which is why it has been safely used in dental procedures for decades.
  • IV sedation: Intravenous sedation is a moderate sedative option, used typically in shorter treatments and administered directly into the bloodstream for immediate effect. Patients who undergo IV sedation say they feel like they slept through their procedure. Sometimes patients feel sleepy or groggy after IV sedation, which makes it important to have someone on hand to drive you home afterward.
  • Oral conscious sedation: This moderate sedative is an excellent option for people who fear needles. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they dull the senses to the point that there is typically no memory of pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Typically a dose of medication is taken prior to an appointment, then topped up during the procedure as needed.

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