Dental Sedation Options

Sedation allows individuals with dental anxiety and phobias to visit the dentist and receive the necessary dental care. Sedation is safe and easy for both patients and dental professionals to administer.

Your dentist will give you oral sedation in pill form about an hour before your procedure. This sedation causes minimal to moderate 강남역치과 drowsiness, but you will be awake and able to communicate.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is a safe and short-acting dental sedative. It is inhaled through a small mask that fits over the nose and helps you relax. Unlike other sedatives, it does not make you fall asleep, but it does help you feel less inhibited and calm. This is a good option for those with mild anxiety and dental fear.

For those with more severe dental anxiety, a dissociative drug called ketamine may be used for conscious sedation. This medication induces a state of dissociation and reduces anxiety, but it can also cause hallucinations and confusion once the effects wear off. It is recommended that patients use this method of sedation only with dentists who have extensive training in sedation dentistry.

If you are undergoing sedation, make sure that you bring a friend or family member to drive you home after your appointment. It is also important to drink plenty of water before your visit to keep your stomach empty.

Oral sedation

With oral sedation, you take a pill an hour before your appointment. You remain awake during your procedure, but you will likely feel sleepy and relaxed. Your dentist will still give you local anesthetic to numb the treatment area.

Your dentist prescribes the medication based on your weight, age and medical history. It may be a triazolam (Halcion(r)) tablet, or it could be a liquid medication such as midazolam oral syrup.

Patients who have oral sedation should have someone drive them to and from their appointments, because they will not be able to safely operate a vehicle. Once the sedation wears off, they will need someone to care for them until they are well enough to return home on their own. Typically, the groggy effects last for several hours past their appointment time. It is important to wear comfortable clothes and avoid anything that will restrict your breathing. For instance, do not wear clothes with binding waistbands and scratchy seams.

Intravenous sedation

With intravenous sedation, your dentist injects a liquid sedative directly into the bloodstream. They can quickly and accurately adjust the dosage based on your needs, unlike with oral sedation. It also takes effect faster and provides a more intense level of sedation. This type of sedation creates a long period of amnesia and is ideal for patients with severe dental anxiety or those undergoing longer or complex procedures, such as oral surgery.

The dentist places a small needle into a vein in the hand or arm, which may be pricked with a numbing cream for those who fear needles. The sedative is delivered through an intravenous tube connected to the needle, and it starts working immediately. You will still be conscious and can respond to verbal commands, but you might feel drowsy or relaxed and may fall asleep during the procedure. Because of the effects of IV sedation, you must have someone drive you to and from the appointment and monitor your vital signs.

General anesthesia

Known as general anesthesia, this type of dental sedation induces complete unconsciousness. Patients receiving this treatment typically require additional preparation, including blood tests, to ensure a safe and effective outcome. Your dentist will use a combination of medications to induce anesthesia. The sedation may be delivered orally, intravenously, or through a mask.

This type of sedation is ideal for people with severe anxiety or phobias who have not received oral care in a long time. It is also appropriate for patients who have difficulty swallowing or who have certain medical conditions that would make it difficult to safely receive oral sedation, such as cardiovascular disease.

Patients who choose this type of sedation take a pill an hour before their appointment. Depending on the dose, they may feel drowsy but not sleepy and will be awakened easily with a gentle shake. This form of sedation can reduce cardiovascular stress in some patients, but it is important for dentists to ensure that they have advanced sedation training and that proper pre-operative assessment has been completed.

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