There’s so much dentistry can do these days to make your mouth healthier and your smile more beautiful. Yet many people don’t take advantage of this because of a long-standing fear of dental treatment. If you are one of these people, rest assured that it’s possible to have an experience that’s free of anxiety and pain. This can be accomplished by blocking your sensations of pain with local anesthetics or by giving you medication that can help you relax. Sometimes both are needed to ensure maximum comfort, especially if you are someone for whom the injections that deliver local anesthetics are themselves a major source of anxiety.
When you are afraid of dental treatment, your guard goes up and your pain threshold goes down; anticipating that something will hurt makes you hypersensitive to every sensation — even sound. If this describes your experience in the dental chair, then you might benefit from sedatives that can be given during your visit to make that anxiety melt away. Full sedation is used in dental surgeries such as root canals and tooth extractions.
Before any particular sedative is recommended, you will be asked to provide your complete health history, including any medications you are currently taking — both prescription and over-the-counter. It is also important to know if you smoke or drink. On the day of your treatment, you may need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment as certain medications take time to wear off.
Forms of Sedation Dentistry
- Oral Sedation — Oral sedation (given by mouth) is a popular option for many people precisely because it does not require the use of needles. Oral sedatives are either swallowed whole in pill form or can be dissolved under the tongue. Both methods work in a matter of minutes. A variety of oral sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-dissolving) medications have been developed through extensive research and testing to make your experience of dental treatment as comfortable and relaxing as possible. All have long safety records after decades of use, and several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning you will remember little to nothing, even though you are conscious throughout the treatment. Commonly prescribed medications include Valium®, Halcion®, Sonata®, Ativan®, Vistaril®, and Versed®.
- Inhalation Conscious Sedation — Nitrous oxide, a sedative you inhale, has been used in dental offices for nearly 100 years. It is a relatively poor pain reliever but a very good anti-anxiety medication. It is administered through a nasal hood, which resembles a small cup that is placed over your nose. The oxygen mixed with nitrous oxide provides a light-headed or even euphoric feeling, which is quick to wear off so there is no “hangover” effect. All bodily functions remain essentially normal during the use of this sedative, which is very safe.
- IV Conscious Sedation — Sedatives delivered directly into the bloodstream intravenously (into the vein) are more potent than when taken orally, and the amnesic effects may be more profound. Because IV sedation has an almost immediate effect on the body and its functions — including heart rate, blood pressure and breathing — there is a higher degree of risk associated with it than with other types of sedatives. There is also a higher level of training required for those who administer it. As with all sedation (except nitrous oxide), you must be monitored with specialized equipment throughout your IV sedation treatment. The main advantage is that drugs administered this way work immediately and the level of sedation can be adjusted more quickly and easily. And with most sedatives, you won’t remember a thing about your dental procedure after the sedative wears off.
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Call the office today to experience the New England Dental difference!
Located right off Exit 38 off I 91 in Windsor, Ct, New England Dental Center is committed to being your local, complete cosmetic dental solution. Established as a multispecialty group practice in 1980, we provide the dental care you need and deserve in one convenient location. We want to help you begin your journey to a healthy and happy smile.
If you’re anxious going to the dentist, come to the professionals in Windsor, CT. We work hard to make you feel comfortable. Call today at (860) 688-3663.
Serving Hartford County, CT
I would absolutely recommend New England Dental to everyone! Especially if you have high dental anxiety like I do, they are very understanding, patient and accommodating! I recently had to do a root canal, I can honestly say that the only “pain” I felt was the pinch when they gave me novacaine! From the moment I called to make an appt, I spoke to Karen, who I must say is one of the best people I’ve ever spoken to! She gave me the best advice that I will carry with me for the rest of my life! She told me that if I only come to the dentist when I have an issue, I will always associate pain to the dentist, which is why going forward, I am going to keep up with regular cleanings etc.. I want to shout out Dr. Mainkar, I cannot say better things about him and his assistant, I am very grateful for them. They made me feel 100% comfortable at all times and kept me updated me on what they were doing which helped keep my anxiety down! From someone who again has HIGH DENTAL ANXIETY, you will be in AMAZINGLY hands if you come here!
Frequently Asked Sedation Questions
What are the types of dental sedation?
There are several types of dental sedation, including nitrous oxide, local sedatives, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. Nitrous oxide is a mild sedative inhaled through the nose, while oral sedatives are generally administered in the cheek or gum to numb the area being worked on. IV sedation involves administering sedative drugs directly into the bloodstream, and general anesthesia results in a state of complete unconsciousness.
Do all dentists offer sedation?
Not all dentists offer sedation, as it requires specific training and credentials. While many dentists can administer mild sedatives like nitrous oxide or oral sedatives, more complex forms of sedation, such as IV sedation or general anesthesia, are typically administered by specially trained and certified dentists or anesthesiologists.
When does dental sedation wear off?
The duration of sedation effects depends on the type of sedation used. Mild sedatives like nitrous oxide can wear off within minutes after the gas supply is stopped, while oral sedatives and IV sedation might take several hours to fully wear off. For general anesthesia, it may take a few hours to fully awaken and several more for the effects to entirely wear off. Your dentist can talk to you about how long the anesthesia you will be using takes to wear off.
How long does sedation dentistry last?
The length of sedation in dentistry depends on the type of sedation and the length of the procedure. For instance, nitrous oxide lasts only as long as it is being administered, while oral sedatives and IV sedation can last for several hours. General anesthesia may keep a patient sedated for the duration of complex or lengthy procedures.
Can you eat before sedation dentistry?
Generally, patients are advised to avoid eating for six hours before undergoing sedation dentistry, especially for IV sedation or general anesthesia, to reduce the risk of complications such as aspiration. However, guidelines can vary depending on the type of sedation and the patient’s health conditions, so it’s crucial to follow the specific instructions given by your dentist.
Is sedation dentistry safe for toddlers?
Sedation dentistry can be safe for toddlers when administered by a trained professional and under the right conditions. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry approves the use of sedation and anesthesia in children, provided the treatment is administered following strict safety guidelines. A thorough health history and pre-sedation evaluation are necessary to ensure a toddler is a suitable candidate for sedation.