Sedation Dentistry Lets You Relax in Comfort During Treatment

Dental anxiety is one of the reasons why many Americans don’t visit the dentist for regular check-ups as often as they should. However, the good news is that with sedation dentistry, there is a way for individuals to experience a stress-free visit to the dental clinic and have their tooth and gum issues resolved. We offer sedation dentistry at our Mountain View dental practice so you can receive the treatment you need while having a comfortable, relaxed experience.

Sedation dentistry does not necessarily involve inducing sleep, though many people mistakenly think so. As a matter of fact, the patient remains awake during the dental procedure. Sedation dentistry primarily involves calming the patient as they undergo the procedure. Some medications may cause sleepiness as a side effect, but the application of oral conscious sedation or nitrous oxide is only meant to calm anxious nerves. One of the reasons for the increasing popularity of sedation dentistry is the fact that sedatives don’t have to be injected. Instead they are taken orally in the form of pills. Besides, the procedures involved in sedation dentistry are proven safe for the patient, making it a great choice for them. Based on patient feedback, the sedatives work so well that details of the procedure including the smells produced are not recalled. This is how effective the approach is.  However, there are a few precautions that need to be taken. For one, it is standard procedure for the patient to be accompanied by a relative or caregiver during sedation. There are sedatives that are given hours before the dental procedure or the night before.  Patients are advised to refrain from driving a motor vehicle or engaging in strenuous physical activity during this period.

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • No needles.
  • No pain.
  • Perfectly safe.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

What are the available sedatives?

There are three levels of sedation, namely mild, moderate, and deep. Meanwhile, there are three forms of dental sedative and the usage depends on the individual needs of the patient. These are oral conscious sedation, nitrous oxide, & IV sedation. There are procedures that the dentist has to follow before he can administer the sedative. A patient’s thorough medical history must be taken into account. Besides, current medications must be noted as well. Here is an outline of the dental sedatives being used today.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as “Laughing gas” has been widely used in dentistry for several years. It is a mild sedative that is administered while the procedure is underway via a nose hood. The primary effect of nitrous oxide is mood elevation. It also fosters a broad sense of well-being, relives any pain felt by the patient, and decreases anxiety. Some patients feel a tingling or numbness, but there are no side effects. 

Oral Conscious Sedation

This method is the alternative choice for those who do not like needles very much. Since dental procedures usually require an injection, people who are in mortal fear of the needle can take this type of sedation prior to the procedure so that their senses are dulled. Afterwards, the patient will not remember noises, smells, and any sensation of pain due to the modest state of sedation that’s been induced. Dr. McEvoy is licensed by the State Board of California to administer oral conscious sedation.

What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?

The drugs which are most commonly used in oral conscious sedation are benzodiazepines. These medications are indicated for reduction of spasms, seizures, insomnia, and anxiety. The effects depend on the half-life of the medication. The type of drug used depends on the length of the dental procedure that the patient will undergo. Below mentioned are some of the drugs that are used in oral conscious sedation:

Valium® is a drug with a long half-life and is most commonly used for complex procedures that take a long time. This drug has amnesiac properties.

Halcion® is a sedative and a drug used for treating insomnia. This is the drug of choice for short procedures. It also has amnesiac properties.

Ativan® is most effective at reducing anxiety. It has medium half-life and has amnesiac properties. For dental procedures that take less than couple of hours, dentists use this drug.

Versed® has the lowest half-life of all and is the least commonly used of the drugs presented here. It is ideal for procedures that take less than half an hour.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please ask your dentist.

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Patrick F. McEvoy, DDS, FAGD

(650) 969-2600

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