Sedation or sleep dentistry is becoming more popular as a solution for patients who experience anxiety at the dentist’s office. At Sanchez Dental, we primarily practice oral conscious sedation. However, this is not the only type of sedation dentists use, and understanding your options will help you make the right decision about pursuing care.
Types of Sedation
- Oral Sedation: In this method, sedatives are administered orally, in pill form. Medication options include diazepam, zaleplon, triazolam, hydroxyzine, and lorazepam. The medication is usually given 30 minutes to an hour before beginning the procedure. Oral sedation is usually given in combination with a local anesthetic for pain relief. The level of sedation is controlled using drug dosage. If a patient requires deep sedation, a higher dosage of any of the above mentioned drugs is given. This is our preferred method at Sanchez Dental.
- IV Sedation: A thin needle attached to an intra-venous tube is inserted into the veins, through which the sedative is delivered into the patient’s body. Depending on the patient’s requirement, the level of sedation can be controlled using an adjustable valve in the intra-venous tube. A local anesthetic is also used in combination with this procedure to eliminate pain.
- Nitrous Oxide Sedation: This is the mildest form of sedation and is given to patients experiencing mild anxiety or nervousness towards the dental procedure. Here, the patient is made to inhale nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” through a gas mask. The nitrous oxide calms the patient down and also wears off quicker than other sedation methods, allowing the patient to recover as soon as the procedure is over. This is the only type of sedation where a patient could safely drive himself home after a procedure.
- General Anesthesia: This is a method where an anesthetic is administered to the patient rendering them completely unconscious. This is general used on patients who require intensive treatments. Here, the patient takes a longer time to awaken from the procedure, and there are risks similar to what you might experience for any other type of medical surgery performed under general anesthesia.
Levels of Sedation
Regardless of the type of dental sedation used, the exact level of sedation can vary depending on dosage:
- Minimal sedation: the patient remains awake, yet relaxed, throughout the entire procedure.
- Moderate sedation: the patient might slur while speaking and probably lose memory of the procedure.
- Deep sedation: the patient is heavily sedated and almost unconscious.
- General anesthesia: the patient becomes completely unconscious.
When you visit Sanchez Dental, we’ll discuss your needs and determine the appropriate level of sedation to ensure your comfort. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.