Sedation can be used in dentistry for several different reasons. Certain dental procedures that can be irritating or painful may require it, or it may be needed for patients with a strong gag reflex or low pain tolerance. It is also helpful for patients who have dental anxiety. There are several forms of sedation, each used for a different purpose. These include nitrous oxide (commonly known as “laughing gas”), IV sedation, oral sedatives, and general anesthesia.
Before you receive any type of anesthesia, it is important that you let your dentist know of any current medications or medical treatments that you will be undergoing in the near future. You will receive instructions on what to do before and after the sedation is administered and your dentist will walk you through the entire procedure.
Nitrous is administered with a mixture of oxygen and is often used as a conscious sedative. It doesn’t put a patient to sleep but merely produces a calming effect. This is useful in putting anxious or phobic patients at ease and helping to make their appointments go more smoothly. Patients are still able to talk and communicate while under nitrous. At the end of the appointment, oxygen is administered for a few minutes in order to flush out the gas from the patient’s system. This causes the effects to wear off almost immediately. There are rarely any side effects with nitrous oxide.
The sedative is administered in the form of a pill. The most common oral sedative is Halcion, which comes from the same family as Valium. It is usually taken about an hour before the appointment and merely dulls the senses rather than putting a patient to sleep.
This type of sedation is usually used for shorter treatments. It is administered into the bloodstream via direct injection, producing immediate effects. This is a moderate type of sedation and some patients report feeling as if they slept through the whole procedure. They may feel groggy or sleepy afterward.
This is the heaviest form of sedation, putting a patient either nearly or entirely to sleep. It is administered through medication for longer or more invasive procedures.
If you believe that you can benefit from the use of sedation dentistry, talk to your dentist at DFW Crown Dental about it during your next visit to Dallas.