There are a few ways of offering sedation to dental patients, which can include an oral sedative, IV sedatives or general anesthesia, or nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”). Oral sedation consists of a small pill taken prior to your dental appointment that relaxes your nerves and eases your anxiety, so when you arrive at our office for your dental appointment, you can stay calm and comfortable. This is a light sedation, so you maintain full control and can openly communicate with our doctors as needed.
Almost anyone can be a candidate for sedation dentistry, but some patients that come to our office need help relaxing or calming their fear or anxiety for more specific reasons, such as:
Sedation dentistry is common and presents very little risk for healthy patients. Almost anyone who experiences anxiety or fear before a dental treatment will have a better experience through sedation dentistry, including patients who haven’t visited a dentist in a long time and feel nervous; who want to avoid local anesthesia due to a fear of needles or shots; who have had a negative dental experience in the past; who get tense in the dental chair; who feel very sensitive to discomfort or pain; or those who simply have a long or complex treatment planned and will need to remain very still for a long period of time. Please consult your physician if you have a history of cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes, or respiratory diseases. Before your treatment, our office will provide a questionnaire covering these and other health and medical records to determine if and how to make sedation dentistry safe and effective for you, so please take your time to seriously consider and accurately complete this information.
Oral sedation can cause drowsiness and must be taken in advance before arriving at our dental office to give it enough time to take effect. As a result, patients will need a friend or family member there to drive them to and from the appointment. During your treatment, our team will closely monitor you for any signs of issues. Oral sedation has an amnestic effect, so you will have little to no memory of the procedure itself. After sedation, the time it takes for the effects to fully wear off vary from person to person. You may feel a bit uncoordinated on your feet or nauseated and sleepy at first, so plan to rest for at least a day. Other possible side effects include dry mouth, headaches, and dizziness. There can be complications with the oral medications, but these are rare. Nonetheless, you should be sure to discuss all possible risks with your dentist to make a fully informed decision about your treatment. Ask our team if sedation dentistry is right for you!