For some patients it’s enough to use a little anesthetic as a numbing agent to dull the discomfort while important dental work is done. For others, the mere thought of sitting in the dental chair is enough to keep them from receiving basic checkups, let alone major restorative procedures.
For these people, sedation dentistry is a simple and effective solution.
The simple fact is that some people have very real anxiety over this, and you can’t just tell them to “get over it.” These are people that can’t sleep the night before an appointment, who dwell on the upcoming procedure and make themselves sick over it.
There’s also every possibility that a patient may have a very low pain threshold, and this can make any discomfort very difficult to handle. Others simply can’t sit still in a chair throughout an extended procedure.
Whatever the source of the concern, it’s important to understand that you have several options.
Defining Sedation Dentistry
Many patients believe that if they choose sedation dentistry, they will be completely unconscious for the entire procedure.
This isn’t exactly true. In fact, in most cases, the patient will be completely conscious and have full control over their extremities. The sedation may involve medication that the patient takes before coming to the office or nitrous oxide once they arrive.
There are several levels of sedation possible with either method, but using gas in the office allows us to precisely control how relaxed the patient is. We can categorize these levels of sedation into four basic categories.
- At minimal sedation, you will be very relaxed but completely awake.
- At moderate sedation – or conscious sedation – you may start slurring words and will likely forget a lot of the procedure.
- Deep sedation means you will be close to unconsciousness, but not quite.
- General anesthesia usually requires a certified anesthesiologist and you will be completely unconscious, unable to wake until the effects have worn off or medication to reverse the effect is provided.
Why Use Nitrous Oxide?
Oral sedation is a simple and effective way for a patient to relax before coming into the office. Still, there are times when the traditional “laughing gas” is the preferred method of sedation.
The reason we might chose to administer gas instead of medication depends on the patient’s individual situation. It allows you to breathe normally and retain full control over your bodily functions, and it also acts very fast, reaching the brain and making it easier to handle any dental discomfort.
It also lets us control how deep the sedation is, so we can bring you out of it quickly if we need to, and there aren’t any lasting side effects.
Is It For You?
If you’re not sure whether sedation dentistry is right for you, be sure to speak to us about your concerns. We’ll help you understand all your options and determine if this is the best way to get the dental care you need.