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Sedation Dentistry: Why You May Need It And How It Works

Sedation Dentistry and nitrous oxide

There are numerous reasons we offer our patients sedation dentistry. For many people they may be afraid of the dentist from a past experience, have high anxiety or are going to have a complicated procedure. We will review the reasons for having sedation dentistry and the three types we offer at our dental practice.

Reasons for Sedation Dentistry

Here are the most common reasons we offer sedation dentistry:

  • High anxiety about coming to the dentist
  • Prior traumatic experiences at another dentist
  • Bad gag reflex
  • Fear of needles or shots
  • Difficulty getting numb in the past
  • Complex surgical procedures such as bone grafting, multiple dental implant placement, wisdom tooth extraction, or extraction of multiple teeth
  • Full mouth deep cleaning in one visit instead of multiple visits
  • Jaw gets tired easily – trouble staying open for dental work
  • Prefer fewer, but longer, appointments to address all dental needs

Types of Sedation

If you fall into any of these categories we can discuss the best type of sedation dentistry for you. We offer different levels we can discuss with you during a consultation. They include:

  1. Oral Sedation: Sedation is provided by taking a pill or having a crushed-up pill placed under your tongue. Often referred to as “sleep” dentistry because it is considered “conscious” sedation, giving patients the ability to respond to simple instructions. It feels like you are deeply relaxed giving hazy memories of their visit and an altered sense of time.
  2. Moderate IV Sedation: Often called a “twilight sleep” and similar to what you may have experienced with a colonoscopy. This is the most common type of sedation that we do in our office. Sedation is provided by administration of multiple medications through an IV. Similar to oral sedation, this is still a “conscious sedation” but it is more effective than oral sedation due to the ability to customize the level of sedation.
  3. Deep Sedation and/or General Anesthesia: Sometimes patients have an anxiety level where they prefer to be “fully asleep” rather than in a “twilight sleep”. In those situations, we have an anesthesiologist come to the office to provide the sedation, which can save the patient thousands of dollars in hospital bills.

What About Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)?

Laughing gas is a very mild form of sedation that causes relaxation but not sedation. It does not cause you to feel “asleep” and does not prevent you from remembering the procedure. Most adult patients with a fear of the dentist feel that laughing gas is not strong enough to make them comfortable. However, laughing gas does tend to be very effective for children.

Questions? Contact Us.

Now you know the potential reasons to have sedation dentistry and the offerings we have at Mint Hill Dentistry, give us a call to discuss an upcoming appointment. Our dentists will meet with you and determine the best option for you. We are here to make you the most comfortable and at ease during your dental appointments in our office.