Unlike General Anesthesia where a patient is completely unconscious, asleep, and unable to respond, patients under Conscious Sedation, are able to respond to commands and breath on their own.
Sedation Dentistry refers to the way dentist’s manage patients who have…
High fear of needles or going to the dentist
Traumatic dental experiences
Difficulty getting numb
Significant gag reflex
Complex dental problems
Limited time to complete dental care
Are bothered by the noises, smells and taste associated with dental care
Are afraid or embarrassed about their teeth
There are 3 primary ways that Sedation is administered in the dental office:
IV Conscious Sedation
With this type of sedation, medications are administered directly into the blood stream. This Type of anesthesia is administered by a board certified Anesthesiologist. The greatest advantage of IV Sedation is that if someone is not sedated enough, the doctor can administer more medication and the effects are instantaneous. IV Sedation is not used commonly in most dental offices We are among some of dentists in the nation routinely using this form of sedation. The drugs used for IV Sedation are much more effective than the same drugs taken orally. There is profound amnesia associated with this technique.
Enteral Conscious Sedation “Orally Administered Sedation”
Sometimes called “Pill Sedation”, this form is administered by taking a pill. All body functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. Although marketed heavily by lesser trained Dentist due to its ease of use, sleeping pills are not a reliable sedation medication on their own. Due to the poor predictability and results, Oral sedation is best used as a mild relaxer before a procedure. Only some degree of amnesia is common. The disadvantage with this method of sedation is that the level of sedation for each person is very unpredictable, and there is a very long delay of effects if more medication is needed.
Inhalation Conscious Sedation, Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation
Also known as “laughing gas”, this is the most frequently used sedation method in dentistry. It is administered through a nasal hood, which resembles a small cup that is placed over your nose. The oxygen mixed with nitrous oxide provides a light-headed or even euphoric feeling, which is quick to wear off so there is no “hangover” effect. All bodily functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient will not fall asleep and will not have memory loss. It is best used for mildly anxious patients who wish only a small amount of sedation to “take the edge off”