Imagine undergoing a complex periodontal treatment. When your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort you were expecting. We are pleased to offer our patients the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:
- A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
- A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
- A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows your doctor to provide a variety of periodontal treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits of sedation dentistry, including:
- No memory of undergoing the procedure
- No sense of time while under sedation
- No sense of smell or sound
- No fear or anxiety during treatment
Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it’s a simple, relaxing way to receive the periodontal care you need.
I’m nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available to me?
There’s no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our practice. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you’ll find that we are both respectful and professional at all times.
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your periodontist can administer your treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
- Mild Sedation - Anxiolysis the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Usually administered orally, with mild sedation, you remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breathe on your own, but you will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation where you are very relaxed during treatment.
- Moderate Sedation - Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, you will remain awake throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation. It is recommended that patients receiving conscious sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
- Deep Sedation - Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their periodontal procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure. It is recommended that patients receiving deep sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
How Sedation Dentistry Works
For Oral Sedation, you will be given one or more oral medications to help you to relax. Sometimes we also give laughing gas. Detailed instructions are given to you in writing and over the phone.
For IV sedation, an anesthesiologist will gently place an IV and administer medication to help you into a deeper state of relaxation. Once your treatment is complete, you will wake up feeling refreshed, with little or no memory of the appointment. Using sedation dentistry, we are able to complete many different procedures in just one office visit.
Due to its sedative nature, you will need someone to accompany you to your appointment because you will not be able to drive. When you arrive at our practice, our staff will be waiting for you and will escort you to a private treatment room where you'll be treated. You will also be asked not to eat or drink prior to the procedure.
Common Questions about Sedation Dentistry
We understand that before receiving treatment, you may have many questions about sedation dentistry. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about sedation dentistry.
Will I feel anything during my treatment?
While sedated and numb, patients do not feel anything. There is very little discomfort, and many patients wake up feeling relaxed and comfortable with almost no memory of the treatment.
Is sedation dentistry the same as being unconscious?
Not with oral sedation. You will still be conscious and responsive; however, you will be a deep state of relaxation. You will not be responsive or alert during IV sedation.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
We work with an anesthesiologist who provides the ideal level of sedation for each individual's safety and comfort. Before starting your treatment with IV sedation, your doctor will talk with you and help you decide if IV sedation is right for your treatment.
How long will it take the sedation to wear off?
The time it takes for the sedatives to wear off depends on the dose you've received, how long your treatment is, and how quick your own body can recover. Since being under sedation causes drowsiness, it is recommended that you have a family member or friend drive you to and from your appointment. After your treatment, you will not want to drive, drink alcohol, or operate machinery.
Am I a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
Any patients, from children to adults, who experience dental anxiety, are good candidates for sedation dentistry. If you have any of the following fears or concerns, ask your doctor about sedation dentistry as an option for your next periodontal treatment.
- Extreme dental anxiety or fear of visiting the dentist
- Are afraid of needles and/or shots
- Have had a traumatic dental experience in the past
- Can't handle the smells or noises of being at a dentist's office
- Have overly sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, or trouble getting numb
- Require a more complex periodontal treatment
- Feel self-conscious about your teeth
- Wish to have a more comfortable periodontal treatment
If you feel that you could benefit from sedation dentistry at your next appointment, please contact us and let us know how we can better accommodate your needs.