The type of sedation you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re fearful of “going under”, rest assured that is NOT what sedation dentistry is like at our office. Dental sedation is designed to put you in a comfortable, self-sufficient, dreamlike state where you remain more or less “awake” and able to respond to the doctor. It controls pain, calms you, and helps you relax. Sedation can make details of your visit a little fuzzy.
Sedation doesn’t just alleviate dental anxiety. It can also make dental treatment more tolerable for patients with a high tolerance to anesthesia, sore jaws, and strong reflexes. Longer appointments with more extensive dental work can be less stressful for both doctor and patient with the balm of sedation dentistry.
Nitrous oxide is breathed through a mask during your appointment. When the appointment ends, you breathe oxygen through the mask for a few minutes to clear your head—it may feel clearer than it did when you came in! When nitrous oxide is used, it will be safe to drive yourself home—and as an added bonus, you may experience some giggling.
Oral sedation is prescribed in advance, and we usually instruct you to take it an hour or two before your appointment. The drugs used for oral sedation are usually benzodiazepines (or “benzos”) such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. This class of drug works to decrease activity in regions of the brain that are responsible for feelings of fear. There are two extra requirements when choosing oral sedation for your dental appointment—and they are non-negotiable!