Guide to sedation dentistry

A Patient’s Guide to Sedation Dentistry:
Options & What to Expect

Modern dentistry is nearly pain-free, but dental anxiety and even dental phobias are, regrettably, extremely common. Some people even postpone routine or much-needed dental work due to their fears. Thankfully, sedation dentistry can help. You can choose your level of sedation, from mild nitrous oxide to deep IV sedation. Whichever you choose, sedation dentistry is an excellent way to push through your fears and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

Nitrous Oxide

Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide provides mild but effective dental sedation. A blend of nitrogen and oxygen is delivered through a mask over the nose, and is carefully controlled by your dentist. If you don’t like how you feel at any time, though, you can simply remove the mask, making this a great choice for those who are afraid of being “under.” You will remain awake and responsive, but feel deeply relaxed and unafraid. When the mask is removed, the effects wear off quickly, making it safe for you to drive home.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation involves a pill such as Halcion or Valium. You might feel mildly to moderately sedated, depending on the dose. Oral sedation will not knock you out, but you might doze lightly in the dental chair. You will know what is happening and be able to communicate with your dentist and staff, but may not remember much about the procedure afterwards.

Oral sedation can leave you feeling groggy all day, so you will need to bring someone to your appointment to drive you home. You should be okay to care for yourself for the rest of the day.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is the best choice for patients who prefer to sleep through the procedure. In our office, IV sedation is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist, who will carefully monitor you throughout the procedure. You will feel a bit loopy and out of it, and though you will likely fall asleep, you can be easily roused.

IV sedation will have lingering effects for the rest of the day. Bring someone with you to drive you home and stay with you for a few hours. You may have trouble caring for yourself, so having someone to help will make you far more comfortable. You should feel like yourself by the next morning.

No matter which type of sedation you select, your tooth will also be numbed, so you do not need to worry about feeling pain or discomfort during your procedure. You may also be sent home with prescription pain medications. If you had a deeper form of sedation, you might not feel pain right away, but it is important to take your medications as prescribed to stay ahead of the pain.

Sedation dentistry is not right for everyone, and your personal health history or current medication list may preclude certain types of sedation. Your dentist will thoroughly review your options with you and help you make the right choice for your individual situation. Note that many patients choose different levels of sedation at different times, depending on their current anxiety level and what procedure they are having done.

Ultimate Dentistry is dedicated to each patient’s individual dental needs, from restoring damaged or missing teeth to cosmetic smile enhancement. We offer evening and Saturday appointments as well as emergency care. Located in Massapequa, we treat patients from throughout Long Island. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us today at 516-798-0223 to schedule an appointment.