What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Going to the dentist can make people anxious, sometimes to the point where they might not even want to attend their appointment. However, with sedation dentistry, that fear can be put to ease and make the appointment feel like a breeze.

Sedation dentistry is the practice of applying a moderate level of sedation. You’re still awake, so you’re not “going under” like with anesthesia, but you will feel carefree and relaxed. Some refer to it as “twilight sleep” as it creates short-term amnesia, like the feeling of trying to remember a dream. You’ll also find yourself feeling very little pain in this state.

Types of Sedation

There are a few different options when it comes to sedation dentistry. Each sedation option comes with its own list of pros and cons, so make sure to speak with your dentist about which option is best for you.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide is one of the most common types of sedation and is commonly known as laughing gas. Your dentist will place a mask over your mouth and nose as you inhale the colorless gas. As the nitrous oxide is inhaled, the effects will begin to be felt within a few minutes. As the name implies, you’ll feel calm, relaxed, and perhaps even a bit giggly. You’ll find that your dentist appointment goes by smoothly and calmly with nitrous oxide. The benefit of laughing gas is that it’s quick to leave the body, so that you can drive yourself home after your appointment.

Oral Sedation

If laughing gas isn’t your cup of tea, an oral sedation is another excellent option. You’ll be prescribed an oral sedative that you will need to take an hour before your appointment. This is commonly a pill, but a liquid option for pediatric dentistry is usually available. You’ll find yourself feeling quite drowsy with an oral sedative, even falling asleep in the chair. Although you’ll wake with a nudge, having a friend or family member free to drive you home afterward is necessary.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

This is the deepest level of sedation that can be offered by your local Miami dentist. An IV will be attached to you, and your dentist will deliver sedative medication to your body through the bloodstream. With IV sedation, your dentists will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen to ensure your levels are good. This type of sedation is mainly used for lengthy procedures or for people with extreme or debilitating dental anxiety. With intravenous sedation, you’ll fall asleep and have little to no memory of the procedure upon waking. Unlike general anesthesia, you may be sleeping, but you’re not unconscious. You’ll also need to have a friend or family member free to drive you home as you’ll still feel sleepy after your appointment.

Ask your dentist about sedentary options and which choice would be best for you. It can make a world of difference for those whose fear of dentists ranges from annoyance to phobia. No one should be forced through an appointment white-knuckling their chair. With sedentary dentistry, you can get your smile worked on in peace.