At the start of the dental procedure, a dentist will pass a small dose of a mixture containing nitrous oxide and oxygen. The effects take a short while to kick in, and the extent of one’s consciousness after inhalation depends on the volume of the gas inhaled as well as the individual reaction to it.
Dentists aim to reduce pain through this procedure, but still make sure the patient can get back home immediately after the procedure.
Oral sedation involves consuming a pill to relax the body altogether, reducing the level of pain. Common painkillers are often used as mild oral sedatives, whereas drugs such as Halcion are used for more aggressive sedation requirements.
If a dentist recommends oral sedation, it is essential that one takes the prescribed sedatives well in advance, so that they can “kick in” before the dental work begins. Different drugs offer different levels of sedation, and the dosage can be varied as well. Due to minimal costs and a high level of control over the procedure, this is the most common technique used to anesthetize patients.
So how do you know if sedation dentistry is right for you? First of all, most dentists will only consider sedation for patients suffering from intense fear or anxiety. If you have difficulty remaining calm during your appointment and you prefer to be unaware of the treatment or procedure, sedation dentistry might be a good option. Even if you just need a little help to relax, your dentist may choose to use inhalation sedation, or laughing gas, so that you feel more comfortable. Specific examples where sedation dentistry is recommended include:
- Patients who would completely avoid even minor procedures due to dental phobias.
- Procedure-specific fears such as fear of needles or extractions even with a trusted and empathetic dentist.
- Dental fears that have not been abated through psychological techniques, especially when other mental health problems exist.
- Patients who fear invasive or more pain-inducing procedures.
Sedation dentistry is sometimes confused with the term ‘Sleep Dentistry,’ but this term is misleading. The fact is that the patient does not sleep during the procedure; however, the patient may feel sleepy due to the effects of sedative drugs. This method enables the patient to stay awake throughout the entire procedure. Although the patient is awake and comfortable, he does not remember much about the treatment. The use of general anesthesia is not considered in the practice of sedation dentistry.
Sherman Oaks Endodontics
4910 Van Nuys Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Phone: (818) 319-4342