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 and anxiety-free dental experience to those who may have dental-related fears. At Fairmont Family Dentistry we have nitrous oxide gas and IV sedation available to our patients.
Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep but in fact, the sedatives we use allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness may be a side effect of sedation, but nitrous oxide and IV sedation simply work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.
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. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Intravenous sedation is a moderate type of sedation. Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure. Generally, IV sedation is used for shorter treatments. It is administered via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate. Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.
If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please ask your dentist.