Does the idea of having any dental procedure give you nightmares and make you tense with anxiety? Do you shiver at the idea of the dentist working in your mouth while you like back in the chair trying not to gag? Many people would rather tolerate dental problems indefinitely than have treatment, for exactly this reason. There is a solution, however: it’s called sedation dentistry.
What is Oral Sedation Like?
Oral or dental sedation can help you overcome your fear of dental procedures and improve your entire experience at the dentist. Although you remain awake, you’re relaxed and calm and it helps you to accept the treatment without stress. The dentist will still provide local anesthetic to numb the areas of your mouth where work has to be done, because sedation doesn’t help to avoid feeling the sensations. You’ll be less aware of the details of the procedure, however, and will drift in and out of sleep without being highly aware of what is happening.
Types of Oral Sedation
The types of oral sedation available are based on the methods of administering them. At Nordel Crossing Dental Centre, we offer two methods of conscious sedation:
This is the most popular form of dental sedation, which has been available for several centuries. You’ll be given a nosepiece through which to inhale a mixture of 70% oxygen and 30% nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. This produces a mild sedative effect within five minutes or so, which is accompanied by happy, peaceful feelings. You’ll continue inhaling the gas until the treatment is over, and the effects wear off very soon after you stop.
The second method of conscious sedation uses anti-anxiety benzodiazepine medications such as Valium or Xanax, which are usually taken in the form of pills. You will need a prescription for the most suitable medication for you based on your overall health and other medications used. The pharmacist will typically fill the prescription for two doses of the medication. One is taken the night before the procedure, and the second an hour or so before your appointment on the day.
These medications will help to relax you, lower your blood pressure and calm your breathing. They take longer to work than nitrous oxide and also last for a longer period, wearing off a few hours after the procedure.
IV Sedation Dentistry
This form of dental sedation is slightly deeper than the conscious sedation options mentioned above. Although this method sees the dental surgeon administer the sedative directly into the patient’s vein, it is not the same as general anesthetic. For IV sedation dentistry what to expect includes becoming very drowsy and hovering between a sleep state and an awake state. This is ideal for patients who are extremely anxious, because they typically experience drowsiness and even some memory loss of the event, which is very helpful.
Dental Sedation for Children
For children and special needs patients, we typically use the inhalation method of dental sedation to deliver a light sedation that has minimal risk of side effects. This is usually enough for root canal therapy, fillings and teeth cleaning. Children who need extensive work done, including multiple tooth extractions or jaw bone surgery, benefit from general anesthesia the most. It usually needs to take place in a hospital setting, however, under the supervision of a surgeon or anesthesiologist.
Dental sedation has been used for many years, and the methods are reviewed frequently. Occasionally, some methods may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and lack of balance, but these usually wear off quickly. Only dentists who have the required training may administer sedation, so patients can rest assured that they have the best care possible while they are under sedation.
Discover how sedation dentistry can help you to relax during a procedure. As one of the leading sedation dentists in North Delta, we’re ready and waiting to help you take the first confident step towards getting the dental care you need. Please contact our dental clinic in Surrey BC to schedule your appointment.