Many patients (including children) have a natural fear of dental procedures. Some may have had a traumatic dental experience in their past or have heard varied stories of an undesirable experience from others and this makes them reluctant to seek treatment. However, many patients find their anxiety is eased when they undergo procedures while in a sleep-like state.
Sedation dentistry refers to the use of some form anesthesia during dental procedure to put patients into a relaxed or sedated state. Sedation dentistry is often utilized during procedures that require an extensive amount of time, and this is well suited to patients who have a dental phobia or difficulty remaining still (children). Some forms of sedation dentistry simply alleviate anxiety or put patients in a sleep-like state but do not elicit ‘unconsciousness’ or general anesthesia. Often little is felt or remembered from the dentistry procedure therefore instilling a more positive experience for the patient.
Several types and degrees of dental sedation exist. The sedation technique recommended will vary depending upon the treatment being performed and/or the degree of anxiety. Our dentist will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for moderate sedation with oral sedatives or nitrous oxide
Oral sedative medications such as valium or ativan can be given to a patient the night before a dentistry procedure and/or 30 minutes to an hour before the dental appointment. A sedate state will be achieved but no pain relief is achieved, so local anesthetic will also be administered.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) is used to induce a state of relaxation. A local anesthetic will be administered in combination with nitrous oxide sedation to eliminate pain. Nitrous oxide has also been used to reduce the gag reflex and allow a more positive experience for these patients.