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Sedation Dentistry

young woman getting her teeth looked at

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Options include inhaled minimal sedation and oral sedation, which our office uses in conjunction with a local anesthetic. 

With inhaled minimal sedation, nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen through a mask that we place over your nose and is also referred to as “laughing gas.” This gas helps you relax and wears off quickly following your procedure. With inhaled minimal sedation, you are able to safely drive yourself home after your visit. 

Oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the total dose given, and is administered by taking a pill about an hour before your procedure. Halcion is typically used, which is in the same drug family as Valium. You will be drowsy upon arrival at our office and sedated just enough to be unaware of the treatment but still be awake. Depending on your medical history and the procedure being performed, a larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. You will need a driver to escort you to and from the dental office.

In addition to sedation, we will also use a local anesthetic. This is a numbing medication placed at the site where dental work will be performed, and relieves pain should the procedure cause any discomfort. 

Who Should Receive Sedation  

We recommend sedation for patients with dental anxiety, low pain thresholds, aggressive gag reflexes, and sensitive teeth. It is also recommended for patients that will be having a wide range of dental procedures performed in a single visit.

If your child is afraid of going to the dentist or refuses to cooperate during visits, inhaled minimal sedation can be used to calm them. Nitrous oxide has been found to be safe in children and can be administered by our team, keeping the dose within recommended amounts based on the child’s weight and age. 

Is Sedation Safe

While there is always risk in getting any type of anesthesia, it is safe when administered by experienced dentists like those in our office. Prior to any procedure involving sedation, our dentist will go over your medical history and any medications you are taking to determine if you’re an appropriate candidate for sedation.

If you are, we will review an information sheet that details the risks of the procedure. You’ll be able to take this sheet home with you. We encourage you to call us if you have any questions or are unclear about any of the verbiage. 

During the procedure, our dentist will monitor your vital signs and have oxygen as well as sedation reversal medications on hand in case they are needed.

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