A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.

Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.

Sedation dentistry is popular because most sedatives can be taken by mouth, meaning no injections, no anxiety and no pain.  Some sedatives work so effectively that even the smells and details of the procedure cannot be recalled afterwards.  Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

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

What kinds of sedatives are available?

The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation.  Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs.  Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, as well as taking note of any current medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure.  Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being.  Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles.  Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation.  Though oral sedatives usually dull the senses.  This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken 1 hour prior to the appointment in the office.