Sedation dentistry allows dental patients to undergo treatment without anxiety, discomfort, or pain. Sedation dentistry involves the administration of drugs that calm or induce sleep in the dental patient. Sedation is particularly important to those who suffer from dental anxiety or need extensive treatments. Below are some of the various forms of sedation dentistry in use today.
Nitrous oxide, which many people refer to as laughing gas, is a mild sedative. The sedative is delivered via a nose apparatus in controlled amounts. Nitrous oxide will not send you to sleep as long as it is appropriately administered. However, the right dosage will get you calm and relaxed enough so that you can get your dental treatment.
Laughing gas works relatively fast, so it won't prolong your dental treatment longer than necessary. At the same time, it also wears out relatively faster than other sedatives. Thus, you will be able to drive yourself home after your treatment if you had nitrous oxide. That is not necessarily true for all sedatives.
Oral sedation typically comes in the form of pills that you swallow. Dentists use various forms of oral sedatives, such as hydroxyzine, benzodiazepines, and promethazine, among others. Oral sedation doesn't work as fast as nitrous oxide, so you have to take it some time before your treatment. Your doctor will let you know when to take the medication, but it is often around an hour before your appointment. Oral sedation is stronger than laughing gas, but it also won't send you to sleep.
Although you will be awake during your oral sedation, you are unlikely to remember much of the treatment once the dentist is done. Since the effects of oral sedation don't wear out fast enough, you will need someone to give you a ride home after the procedure.
Intravenous (IV) sedation is delivered directly into the bloodstream. There are two types of IV sedation; twilight sedation and general anesthesia. Twilight sedation makes you sleepy and takes you to the edge of unconsciousness, but you won't be exactly unconscious. General anesthesia will get you totally unconscious, and you won't feel or remember anything.
IV sedation, especially general anesthesia, is only reserved for extreme cases. For example, those who need dental surgery, those who have experienced dental trauma, or those who have difficulty getting relaxed with the other forms of sedation dentistry. Again, the effects of IV sedation are relatively strong, and you won't be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
Contact a local clinic like Blue Ash Dental Group to learn about the sedation options they offer.