Sedation Dentistry

What Is Sedation Dentistry, and Why Is It Used?

Many people are so afraid of going to the dentist that they avoid getting the oral health care they need. The good news is that sedation dentistry can make your visit to the dentist almost anxiety-free and can be used for a wide range of dental procedures. At RGC Dentistry, we offer sedation dentistry in our Surprise AZ dental clinic to help our patients get the dental care they need with a lot less stress!

The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

With sedation dentistry, sedatives are used to relax you during your visit to the dentist's office. Sedation dentistry is used in a variety of dental procedures. Some people confuse sedation dentistry with local anesthesia, but they are not the same thing. Local anesthesia is a gel or a liquid injected into the treated area to numb the area. This is not sedation dentistry.

There are multiple types of sedation dentistry. For example, nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a form of sedation dentistry. Your dentist will put a mask over your nose, and as you inhale, you will start to relax. One of the side effects of this treatment can be excessive laughing, which is why it is referred to as laughing gas. Oral sedation is another common type of sedation dentistry. With oral sedation, your dentist will give you a sedative that you take about one hour before the procedure. The pills are going to make you feel relaxed and possibly sleepy, however, you will still be awake. IV sedation is a moderate form of sedation. A sedative is injected directly into your vein. With this type of sedation, you will need some recovery time after the procedure.

General anesthesia is an intense form of sedation. With general anesthesia, you are given drugs that help you to sleep throughout the dental procedure. You will need to recover for several hours after the treatment. The type of sedation dentistry your dentist will use will vary based on the treatment you need and your anxiety levels. It’s good to discuss options with your dentist to make the best sedation dentistry decisions.

What Kinds of Dental Treatments Can Sedation Dentistry Be Used For?

Sedation dentistry can be used for dental treatments ranging from minor oral surgery to cosmetic procedures. It is most common to see sedation dentistry used during oral surgery. 

Of course, many surgical procedures may need some type of sedation. Dentists also perform some minor surgeries, including root canal therapy, dental implant placement, and tooth extraction, that use sedation can be used for. The truth is that many patients have dental anxiety. This makes them feel terrified of even routine and relatively simple dental procedures, such as dental fillings, root planing, or the placement of a crown. Every patient, regardless of their anxiety level, can benefit from the option of sedation dentistry.

Cosmetic dental procedures can help people improve their confidence and self-esteem along with the appearance of their smiles. Unfortunately, many people avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety. For this reason, sedation dentistry is also common with cosmetic procedures.

Whether it is a routine cleaning, getting a crown or replacing a missing tooth, sedation dentistry can help dental patients overcome their fear and get the dental care they need.

How Long Does It Take for the Sedative to Wear Off?

Depending on the type of sedation used, effects are can last anywhere from minutes to hours.  The effects of Nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) are ended immediately once the gas turns off and there are no residual side effects.  This enables a patient to drive themselves to and from their appointment and return to normal activities almost immediately.

If an oral sedative pill or IV sedation is used, the effects from the medication can last several hours.  Of course, everyone has unique reactions to dental sedation. Some people who are younger and who are in better health might metabolize the drugs faster, meaning that the recovery time will be shorter. A general rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours after the procedure for the full effects of the sedation to wear off. Full recovery from sedation is necessary for driving, engaging in rigorous physical activity, or operating heavy machinery.

Good oral health should not be taken for granted. Don’t allow fear of going to the dentist to prevent you from getting the oral healthcare you need. Call our dental office in Surprise, AZ to learn more about sedation dentistry and how it helps anxious patients get the smiles they deserve.