Types of Dental Sedation

Dentists consider dental sedation to reduce patient agitation and fear when they are undergoing dental procedures. There are four primary types that your dentist might discuss with you, depending on the extent of the procedure and how much fear and anxiety you are experiencing. Learning more about your options can help you to determine which one may be the best for you.

Oral Dental Sedation

With this type of sedation, you are given a tablet or a pill to take before your dentist starts the procedure. It is common for your dentist to administer a benzodiazepine since this type of medicine has a rapid onset, but the effects do not last too long. This allows you enough time to feel more relaxed while your dentist performs a minor procedure, such as a root canal or drilling and filling a cavity.

The medicines that are used are typically taken 30 to 60 minutes prior to your procedure. Your dentist may prescribe them so that you can take them prior to arriving at the office. In this case, you should plan to get a ride to the office since oral sedation tends to may you drowsy and some people actually do fall asleep, depending on the medicine used, the dose and their overall tolerance.

Inhalation Dental Sedation

This type of sedation is also known as laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. To administer the gas your dentist will place an apparatus over your nose, and you will only need to breathe normally. Once your dentist administers the gas, you are fully conscious, but in a relaxed state that allows you to have reduced anxiety during minor dental procedures, such as drilling and filling a cavity. In some cases, this sedation method is used for people who get nervous during a cleaning and examination.

Once you stop breathing in the gas, the effects can start quickly. For some people, they start to feel relaxed in 30 seconds. However, once you stop breathing it in, the effects wear off rapidly. Because of this, you are generally able to drive after receiving this type of sedation.

In some cases, dentists use laughing gas as the only method of sedation. However, it can also be used before other sedation types to get you relaxed before administering other medicines, such as IV sedation, which have a longer and stronger effect.

Intravenous Dental Sedation

There are a few different variations of this type of anesthesia. Twilight sedation is the first type. With this type, you are sleepy, but still conscious. You do not have a full awareness of your surroundings. In most cases, you feel the effects of the medicines within minutes of them being given. General anesthesia is also considered to be a form of IV sedation. With this type, you are fully asleep.

With the twilight type, you are administered sedatives into a vein. The most common IV sedatives used include diazepam and midazolam. Once the medicine is administered, you can still respond to your dentist’s requests, but you might not remember a lot about the procedure that you just had. This helps to ease your anxiety so that your dentist can get the work done and you can feel relaxed and not experience discomfort.

Your dentist might discuss this type of sedation with you for various dental procedures, such as treating a cavity, a root canal or pulling a tooth. For example, if you are nervous about a simple wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist may talk to you about IV sedation.

Dental General Anesthesia

This is a form of dental anesthesia where you are not awake during the procedure. It involves a series of drugs that your dentist will administer either via IV, inhalation or a combination of both. While this type of sedation is not used as often as the other three, there are some circumstances where it is the only choice:

• Children who need to undergo significant dental work
• Children who are fully unable to cooperate during a dental procedure
• Surgical reconstruction or another type of complex dental surgery
• Complicated removal of a wisdom tooth
• Adults undergoing dental work who have a severe learning disability

Once you are asleep, there are medicines that are administered to maintain this. An anesthesiologist is generally working alongside your dentist to keep you asleep and comfortable while your dentist is performing the dental procedure.

The two most commonly used medicines in general anesthesia include fentanyl and propofol. Fentanyl is a powerful pain-relieving drug and Propofol helps to put you to sleep. They are generally used together due to their combined effects of sleep and pain relief.

When you see the best dentist in Surprise, AZ, talk to them about their dental sedation options before your scheduled procedure. This will ensure that you know more about what to expect and it helps to ease some of the anxiety you may experience on the day of your procedure.