For many Americans, a visit to the dentist comes with anxiety and maybe even fear. Others may need a procedure, like a tooth extraction, that requires some more intricate work in the mouth. If you are in either one of these categories, sedation dentistry is a choice for you. Is it possible to feel comfortable and even enjoy your next experience at the dentist? There are three kinds of sedation dentistry we use at Ascent Dental Care. Read on to find out more about each one and which might be the best fit for you.
Nitrous oxide is known more by its popular name: “laughing gas”. Nitrous oxide is a gas that, when mixed with oxygen through normal breathing, allows you to feel relaxed before any kind of dental procedure. Since there are no needles required and the effects wear off quickly, nitrous oxide is a great choice for people who want to avoid IV sedation or oral drugs. Nitrous oxide is a form of minimal sedation.
IV sedation, otherwise known as general anesthesia, allows you to be fully unconscious during dental treatment. Medication is administered intravenously, so it does require a needle. Once the medication enters your bloodstream, it puts you to sleep and you wake up once the procedure is over. If you suffer from high anxiety about dental treatment or have specific needs that are easier met if you are under general anesthesia, IV sedation is for you. One of the main reasons why you might choose IV sedation is if you don’t want to be alert or aware of the procedure at all. For others, this option might bring up another kind of anxiety, which is why we offer other forms of sedation. You do feel drowsy for some time after IV sedation and will need someone to drive you home, so keep that in mind when deciding which form of sedation is for you.
Conscious Oral Sedation
The third option for sedation is known as conscious oral sedation. This method uses a combination of an oral relaxant, like Valium or Halcion, taken about an hour before the procedure. During the procedure, you can be awake and relaxed. Some people even fall asleep! Your dentist will use a local anesthetic for the actual procedure, and the effects do last for several hours afterward. You will need someone to walk or drive you home. If you’d prefer a sedation option without needles but want to be awake during the procedure, conscious oral sedation is a good choice for you.