Conscious Sedation Dentistry
What is conscious sedation dentistry?
Studies have indicated that a relatively high percentage of the population experiences what is called dental anxiety. Conscious sedation dentistry is a service that we are proud to offer to help reduce the stress and fear our patients may feel.
Conscious sedation dentistry involves two primary techniques: oral conscious sedation and inhalation sedation using nitrous oxide.
Oral conscious sedation is administered as a pill or liquid. The prescription medication is carefully dosed to decrease the nervous system response to external stimulation. The patient may take a pill at home about an hour before their visit or may have their mild sedative administered in the office.
Nitrous oxide is called inhalation sedation because this sedative is inhaled. Nitrous oxide is one of the first sedatives to ever exist. It is administered via a comfortable cone that fits over the nose. The effects of nitrous oxide are similar to those achieved with oral conscious sedation.
What are the benefits of conscious sedation dentistry?
There are several benefits to the inclusion of sedation for dental appointments. The degree of dental anxiety that people experience is widely varied. In some cases, people avoid seeing the dentist for many years because they are so frightened. This could happen as a result of a previous dental experience or traumatic life experiences. Regardless, dental health tends to suffer immensely when professional care is avoided for so long.
Dental sedation offers a path forward for even the most anxious person. Knowing that the nervous system is put into a very relaxed state, the patient can feel much more confident seeing the dentist and correcting problems that have caused persistent and unnecessary pain. Dental sedation helps us perform multiple procedures in a single visit, extensive procedures, and even minor restorations.
If you have been avoiding dental visits due to fear and anxiety, contact us. We want to help you reframe your idea of what dentistry can offer.
Who is a good candidate for conscious sedation?
Many people can be good candidates for dental sedation. Nitrous oxide has routinely been used in patients of all ages, even children, without adverse effects. Oral conscious sedation is also appropriate for a wide age range. A variety of people choose sedation dentistry. In addition to helping anxious people receive the care they need, sedation techniques are also commonly chosen by patients who are undergoing a procedure they have never had before, such as dental implants or a root canal. Patients who want to combine multiple procedures into one visit also find that sedation helps them feel more comfortable sitting in the treatment chair for their longer visit.
What are the advantages of conscious sedation over other types of sedation dentistry?
Nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation are convenient, safe forms of dental sedation that have been widely used for many years. The other common technique that is available is IV sedation. This technique puts patients into a sleep state, so requires more oversight and carries slightly higher risks. Because the patient “goes to sleep.” It is necessary for them to remain in the office until they are alert enough to be released. This means more time out of their day. It takes longer for the effects of IV sedation to fully wear off, as well, which prevents patients from resuming normal activities until the day after their appointment.
Conscious sedation does not put patients to sleep. It creates a peaceful state of relaxation that lifts more quickly than IV sedation and does not prevent normal activities in many cases.
Will I be able to drive home after a dental procedure with conscious sedation?
Patients who choose nitrous oxide sedation for their appointment can drive themselves home afterward. This is because, being inhaled, the effects of nitrous oxide gas are only present while the gas is being administered. As we finish up a procedure, the ratio of nitrous oxide to oxygen is tapered until the patient is breathing 100 percent oxygen. This reverses the sedative effects within about 5 minutes.
Oral conscious sedation is not quickly reversed so may result in grogginess that lasts a few hours. Patients who prefer oral conscious sedation will need to arrange for someone to drive them to their appointment and see them safely home.
Are there any risks of conscious sedation dentistry?
Conscious sedation is very safe and effective in most cases. Patients who are taking prescribed medications should alert their dentist before sedation services are planned so that the risk of adverse interactions can be assessed and managed.
Schedule your Consultation
Fear and anxiety should not keep you from enjoying a healthy smile. To learn more about your options for dental sedation, call Gonzalez Dental Care in Pembroke Pines at (954) 432-4800.