Conscious sedation in the dental office
Every patient is unique. The method of conscious sedation selected depends on a patient's specific needs, relevant medical history, and the extent of required dental work.
While all types of conscious sedation allow the patient to relax and feel comfortable during a dental procedure, the level of sedation differs depending on which of the following methods is employed.
Inhalation sedation (Nitrous Oxide or “Laughing Gas”)
Commonly referred to as "laughing gas," nitrous oxide is used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety and facilitate relaxation during dental procedures. It's inhaled through a small mask over the nose and administered for optimal safety in combination with oxygen. Used for the duration of a dental procedure, nitrous oxide gets turned off as work comes to an end. Once the laughing gas gets turn off, the effects wear off very quickly, and the patient returns to a state of complete awareness. Beyond addressing mild to moderate anxiety levels, inhalation sedation can help reduce gagging in patients with a strong gag reflex.
Oral sedation offers a relaxed and comfortable experience with little to no anxiety. With this method, patients are given a prescription for an oral medication before their appointment. When taken at the recommended time before their visit, this medication allows patients to feel entirely relaxed by the time their procedure begins. With oral sedation, a patient must have an escort on the day of the procedure to drive them to and from the dental office.
IV Sedation involves a sedative that is administered intravenously or directly into a vein. It is indicated when more profound sedation is required. This type of sedation starts to work very quickly and can get readily modified to regulate the patient's state of consciousness as well as continued for as long as the procedure requires.
IV Sedation requires an empty stomach. Patients receiving this type of sedation will be instructed how many hours in advance of their surgical procedure they should stop eating or drinking. In addition to this, patients receiving IV sedation will need to have an escort present for the appointment and on hand to drive them home when the visit is completed.