What Is Sedation Dentistry & How Does It Work?

What Is Sedation Dentistry & How Does It Work?

Team Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a helpful tool that can make dental procedures easier and more comfortable. Patients can benefit from the use of sedation in a wide variety of situations.  Sedation works well for patients with special needs or severe dental anxiety, as well as those who need particularly invasive oral surgeries. Sedation can make it possible for people to get the care they need for optimal dental and oral health. 

What exactly is sedation dentistry and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know before you talk to your dentist about sedation. 

How is Sedation Used in Dentistry? 

Sedation is the term for medically induced relaxation. It refers to some type of intervention that is applied to help you feel more calm and relaxed during a dental procedure. Sedation may be used for routine dental work, such as a simple filling, or for more invasive procedures, such as oral surgery. 

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry

There are a few different types of sedation options used in dentistry: 

  • Nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a gas that you breathe through a mask placed over your nose. As you breathe in deeply through your nose, you begin to feel the effects of the sedation. Some patients report feeling light-headed, while others say they felt calm and relaxed. Other common effects of nitrous oxide include a heavy feeling in the arms and legs and a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes. 
  • Conscious oral sedation. An oral sedative can be prescribed in pill or liquid form. You will be instructed to take it a certain amount of time before your procedure. Patients under oral sedation often describe feeling sleepy or groggy, but you are conscious the entire time. You may not remember everything about the procedure afterwards, but you are able to respond to questions and requests during the procedure. 
  • IV sedation. For a deeper level of sedation, an IV may be used to administer medication that will make you feel as if you are asleep. You are still technically conscious and are able to respond to questions and requests, but you won’t be aware of what is going on around you. 
  • General anesthesia. The deepest level of sedation is reserved for specific procedures. General anesthesia must be administered in a hospital setting so that you can be monitored for your safety. It may be used for complex, invasive oral surgeries such as jaw surgery. 

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry 

Sedation dentistry offers many benefits: 

  • Reduces stress. If you are anxious or nervous about upcoming dental work, you can reduce the amount of stress you feel if you plan to have sedation. It will also reduce the stress you would experience during the procedure. 
  • Helps with relaxation. It is often impossible to force yourself to relax in a situation where you feel anxiety. Sedation provides relaxation assistance that is effortless for you. 
  • Get the dental care you need. Some patients avoid getting the dental care they need because they are too afraid to get it done. Sedation can help you get the necessary dental procedures to improve your dental health. 
  • Reduced gag reflex. One of the most common problems that cause patients to have dental anxiety is their gag reflex. But sedation can reduce or suppress your gag reflex so that the dentist can work in your mouth without causing you to gag. 
  • Shorter procedure. Dentists can work faster when patients are under sedation because they don’t have to worry as much about your potential discomfort. Sedation makes you less aware or completely unaware of what is going on around you. 

Recovery From Sedation 

Some forms of sedation increase your recovery time as you wait for them to wear off. Conscious oral sedation and IV sedation will require you to rest at home for the remainder of the day after your appointment and potentially the next day depending on how you feel. You’ll need someone you trust to drive you to and from your appointment. 

Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, will wear off as quickly as it takes effect, which is just seconds or minutes after you start breathing regular room air again. You can drive yourself to and from your appointment and resume your regular daily activities as soon as you leave the dental office. 

Holzinger Periodontics Provides Sedation Dentistry 

If you’re in need of a dental procedure, such as dental implant placement or some other dental treatment, sedation may be a helpful option for you. Whether you’re feeling anxious or your procedure is particularly invasive, sedation dentistry can make the whole experience more relaxing. Holzinger Periodontics provides a variety of sedation options for the benefit of our patients.  

To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations.