The Four Methods of Sedation Dentistry
1. Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide is a gas that helps you to feel more relaxed and decreases anxiety. The recovery time is very short, so you will be able to drive yourself home. Nitrous oxide is best used for patients with mild anxiety, who will be having a short dental procedure.
2. Oral Conscious Sedation (Pills)
This method involves taking a pill about an hour before your treatment. This will make you feel relaxed and drowsy. You will remain awake and be able to interact with and respond to the dentist. Occasionally, nitrous oxide may be used in addition to oral medication to reach the desired effect. The sedative effects can last many hours, so you will need to have a responsible adult drive you home.
3. Intravenous (IV) Sedation (Twilight Sleep)
Sedation produces a lowered level of consciousness so that you may undergo dental treatment in a “twilight sleep.” You will be semi-conscious with the ability to respond but will have little or no memory of the procedure. This modality allows the dentist to customize the dose making it predictable and comfortable for you right in the dental office. If you are a healthy patient with moderate to severe anxiety, sedation may be a good choice for you. Individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities may benefit from IV Sedation, as well.
4. General Anesthesia
General anesthesia produces a state of unconsciousness wherein you are completely asleep during your treatment. It is performed in a surgical center or hospital by an anesthesiologist. If you have a complex medical condition or an extreme phobia, this option may be right for you. Individuals with special needs – physical or mental disabilities, often benefit from treatment under general anesthesia. It can also be the ideal method when multiple procedures need to be accomplished in one visit.