Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can help with prolonged procedures, fear of dentistry, and overall comfort.

The use of sedation in dentistry has revolutionized the way patients view dental visits. Patients who once were afraid or anxious about even the most routine dental procedures now visit the dentist with confidence. Sedation is typically administered to healthy individuals who need help relaxing or managing treatment anxiety. Reasons for needing sedation may include lengthy procedure times, dental phobias, or fear caused by negative experiences in the past.

Common Questions About Sedation

What Is It?

Moderate sedation is an altered state of consciousness, where you become disassociated with your surroundings.  Memory, anxiety levels, and perception of pain are greatly reduced, and you should become very relaxed and comfortable.

Who Is It For?

Any reasonably healthy person can have moderate sedation with ANY dental procedure, whether it is having your teeth cleaned or surgery. Dr. Connell will review your health history with you.

How Will I Feel?

You will remember nothing or very little and generally feel no discomfort.  Most people do not recall or feel any part of the procedure, including numbing the teeth.  When your appointment is over, the effects of the sedatives may last for several hours and you may be groggy most of the day of your appointment.

How Is It Done?

The sedatives are administered intravenously (IV).  This way we can be sure you receive the right amount of sedation.  Because you may feel groggy and disoriented, you will need to have someone available to take you home from the office on the day of your appointment.  We cannot sedate patients if they do not have a responsible adult available to accompany them after their appointment.

Is It Safe?

Yes, but it is very important that you let us know about any and all medications and/or drugs you are taking and any medical problems that you may have had so that the sedation procedure can be altered to reflect your special needs. For some, a consultation with your physician will be helpful in preventing unanticipated problems.

What you need to know before the day of my IV sedation?

  • You may not have anything to eat or drink (including water) for eight (8) hours prior to the appointment.
  • No smoking at least 12 hours before surgery. Ideally, cut down or stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the day of surgery.
  • A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office and drive the patient home, and stay with the patient after the appointment until the effects of the drugs wear off.
  • The patient should not drive a vehicle or operate any machinery for 24 hours following the anesthesia experience.
  • Please wear loose fitting clothing with sleeves which can be rolled up past the elbow, and low-heeled shoes.
  • Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed at the time of surgery.
  • Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
  • If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, stomach or bowel upset, please notify the office.
  • Take your routine oral medications unless otherwise stated by our office.

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) has been a primary means of mild sedation in dentistry for many years.  It has a calmly effect on mildly anxious patients.  Administered as an inhalant, along with oxygen, it is safe and leaves little or no “hangover”, so patients are able to transport themselves to and from the office.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide. The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation. It is very effective in minimizing gagging.  In just a few minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

You may want to ask our dentists for a “trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding. We do not use Nitrous Oxide if you are pregnant or have COPD.

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