Sedation Dentistry: Staying Calm in the Dentist’s Chair

patient being sedated

patient being sedatedDoes going to the dental clinic give you the shivers? You are not alone. The sound and smell of a dental office can give anyone chills, but there is a simple way to beat this fear. Sedation dentistry may be able to help you the next time you visit your dentist in Highlands Ranch.

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation makes use of medicines to help relax patients during dental procedures. Patients are given anesthetics to make them numb from the pain. In most cases, patients are awake during the whole procedure. However, there are instances when patients are given general anesthesia that puts them to sleep. This is the reason dental sedation is also sometimes called sleep dentistry. The sedation levels are:

  • Minimal sedation. Minimal sedation will make you relaxed but still widely awake.
  • Moderate Sedation. You are awake during the procedure, but you are less aware of what’s going on.
  • Deep sedation. When in deep sedation, you are asleep but can be easily awakened.
  • General anesthesia. Under general anesthesia, you will be completely unconscious throughout the dental procedure.

These are the different dental sedation types:

Laughing Gas

This is considered as the most common form of dental sedation. It makes use of nitrous oxide, more popularly known as “laughing gas.” It is inhaled through a mask that is placed over the nose, which is why it is also referred to as “inhalation analgesia.” The gas does not make you sleep; it only helps you relax. It is very safe, and most dentists are qualified to administer this mild form of anesthesia.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation involves the use of anesthesia that is orally taken in either pill or liquid form. The level of sedation can be anywhere between minimal to moderate depending on the dosage given to you by your dentist. The pill will most likely make you feel drowsy, but not enough to actually put you to sleep. However, a larger dose may put you under moderate sedation, which can make you feel groggy. Some patients may fall asleep but can be easily awakened with a gentle nudge.

child dentist treat boy teeth under sedation with dental curing ultraviolet light equipment

IV Sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation is injected directly into a vein. This allows dentists to provide deeper sedation in a more controlled environment because they can easily adjust the sedation level given to each patient. You will be awake during the procedure, but you are less likely to be aware of the whole procedure. You may also need to rest for a few minutes before you leave the office until the anesthesia wears off.

General Anesthesia

If you are given general anesthesia, you can expect to be deeply asleep all throughout your dental procedure. This type of anesthesia is administered with the use of medication that is directly injected to a vein. You may also need to inhale a gaseous anesthetic. While under this type of anesthesia, you cannot be easily awakened, so you will need to stay at the office until the anesthesia is completely out of your system.

Your dentist will know best which type of sedation you will need. However, regardless of the type of sedation you get, you will still probably need a local anesthetic or a numbing medication that is administered directly on the site where your dentist is working on. This will help relieve the pain should the procedure cause you any discomfort.