The term “Sedation Dentistry” refers to the use of sedation during dental treatment. Sedation dentistry is most commonly used during extensive procedures, for patients with a significant fear of dental procedures, or for patients who find it hard to sit still. There are different types of sedation, such as nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), IV sedation, oral sedatives, and general anesthetic.
Sedation dentistry can run the gamut from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient down, to a general anesthetic which is used to put a patient to sleep. Patients with a dental phobia, a low pain tolerance, needing major dental treatment, physical handicaps or with strong gag reflexes may need sedation. Procedures such as fillings, crowns, bridges, extractions, cosmetic procedures, root canals, and periodontal treatments often will need sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make patients comfortable during their dental visit. Before receiving a sedative or anesthetic, it is vital to tell us about any medications or treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic to you, our dentist will discuss the process of sedation and give you the before and after sedation instructions.
Nitrous Oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as a conscious sedation method during a dental treatment. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps anxious patients relax during their dental visit. Patients are still conscious and can talk to their dentist during their treatment. After treatment, the nitrous oxide is turned off, and oxygen is administered for five to ten minutes to help flush out any remaining gas. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has any side effects, although some patients can experience minor nausea or constipation. Your dentist will provide you with before and after sedation instructions.