Imagine undergoing a complex dental treatment such as a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery. When your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort you were expecting.
We are pleased to offer our patients the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:
- Fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
- Difficulty sitting still for long periods of time
- A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows our office to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits of sedation dentistry, including:
- No memory of undergoing the procedure
- No sense of time while under sedation
- No sense of smell or sound
- No fear or anxiety during treatment
Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it’s a simple, relaxing way to experience dentistry.
I’m nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available to me?
There’s no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our practice. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you’ll find that we are both respectful and professional at all times.
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which we can administer your treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
- Mild Sedation: Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Usually administered orally, with mild sedation you remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breath.
- Moderate Sedation: Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and those who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, you will remain awake throughout your procedure, but will be in a deep state of relaxation. It is recommended that patients receiving conscious sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving may be unsafe.
- Deep Sedation: Patients who receive deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. They often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure. It is recommended that patients receiving deep sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off and driving is unsafe.
How are sedatives administered?
- Inhalation: Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is most frequently used in general dental offices to ease mild-to-moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately. Our office does not use nitrous. Instead, we will recommend one of the following, more specialized, techniques.
- Oral: An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It’s easy and doesn’t require the use of needles. You will be given a prescription pill, taken about an hour before your appointment, so that by the time you arrive at our office, you’re fully relaxed.
- Intramuscular (IM) - Intramuscular sedation, which involves an injection of sedative drugs into the muscles of the upper arm or upper thigh, can result in sedation within a short amount of time. IM sedation is only used in extremely rare cases.
- Intravenous (IV) - In IV sedation, a sedative is administered intravenously, or directly into a vein. The sedation can be quickly modified to your state of consciousness and can be continued as long as necessary for the procedure. IV sedation must be administered by a certified and licensed practitioner. Dr. Dalessandro recently implemented a new technology called Capnography (learn about it here).
What does it mean to be an IV Certified and Licensed Practitioner?
A dentist who is IV certified and licensed to administer IV sedation has received additional specialty training and been legally certified by the state’s Board of Dental Examiners to deliver medical drugs that alter a patient’s consciousness for a comfortable, pain-free treatment.
Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method is right for you.