Procedures
Sedation Dentistry - What is it and what are my choices?

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience. 

Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep.  In fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and IV sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.

What kinds of sedatives are available?

The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.  Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on an individual's personal needs.  Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nose hood (mask), 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 during the procedure.  In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. 

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation.  Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses.  This means that most patients cannot remember the smells or noises associated with the procedure.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken the night before, to ensure a good nights rest and then just prior to the appointment.

IV Sedation

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 by our visiting Anesthesiologist via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate.  Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. 


If you or someone you know, are interested in knowing more about sedation dentistry, please give our office a call at 847-215-0003.  We are always happy to help answer any questions you may have. 



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