If a visit to the dentist’s office makes you more than a little nervous, you are not alone. While we do offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and local anesthetic to make your dental office visit more comfortable, a stronger, more calming alternative is sedation dentistry.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. There are different levels of sedation that are offered, and they are listed below
The levels of sedation used include:
- Inhaled minimal sedation: You breathe nitrous oxide — otherwise known as “laughing gas” — combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
- Oral sedation: Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
- IV moderate sedation: You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
- have a low pain threshold
- Are very anxious
- can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair
- have very sensitive teeth
- have a bad gag reflex
- need a large amount of dental work completed
If you are interested in sedation dentistry, please do give us a call at (209) 832-8668 or come to our office for a free consultation. We will discuss a variety of factors, such as the dental procedure, health history, any medications taken, and others to determine whether sedation is the best option for you. Next, we will determine the type of sedation and complete the procedure(s). It will be over before you know it!