Sedation is a process used to establish a relaxed, easy and calm state through the use of sedatives. Oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation. Regardless of the type of sedation dentistry you receive, it is important to have a responsible caregiver accompany you to the procedure. Caregivers often may need to drive patients home after their procedure is complete and stay with them for an additional two to four hours at home.
Oral sedation is a higher level of sedation – more powerful than laughing gas, but not as powerful as IV sedation. We administer oral sedation by giving you a pill, which you take before your dental appointment. You will remain conscious throughout and can respond to questions, but you won’t be as aware of what’s going on. After your dental appointment, you’ll have little memory of it.
Oral sedation is great for more complex procedures and is also effective for people who may have a fear of the dentist, or those with a strong gag reflex. It may also help those who have difficulty keeping their mouth open or have a physical disability that makes it difficult to tolerate dental treatment.
Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is inhaled and combines with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over the patient’s nose. The gas helps the patient relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where patients may be able to drive themselves home after the procedure.
Intravenous sedation, or sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep,” is a type of anesthesia that relaxes a patient through an intravenous (IV) placed in a vein. Depending on the surgical procedure, the amount of anesthesia used may range from a minimal amount, just enough to make a patient drowsy, to an amount deep enough that the patient may not remember the procedure at all.