Many people feel anxious before and during dental procedures. It's okay to feel nervous or even fearful when anticipating an appointment. We understand that our patients aren’t all the same, and we have great news: you have options! You can experience dental treatment in a comfortable, customized approach with several different methods of sedation.
The most common forms of sedation used in dentistry are inhalation, oral, and intravenous sedation. While making dentistry much easier for you, it is important to understand that they are not pain-killers, and regular numbing medications still prove essential. But sedation will make every part of your treatment more enjoyable if you’re anxious.
Anxiety prevents up to 50% of the population from getting needed dental care. Simple oral medications taken shortly before an appointment can take the edge off, removing the barrier to a healthier you.
This method creates a deeper level of sedation than possible with nitrous oxide and is easy to administer. Dr. Hughes will prescribe a medication that you take before your appointment to reduce anxiety. A wide variety of medications are available for this type of sedation, and Dr. Hughes will carefully discuss your particular needs to determine which choice would work best for you. However, all are classified as anti-anxiety medications and achieve the same result: reducing and even eliminating the anxiety of dental treatment.
In addition to making your experience more comfortable, oral sedative medications help to reduce your memory of the experience. It also allows us to complete your treatment in fewer appointments and to finish complex procedures in less time. While your treatment is performed, Dr. Hughes carefully monitors your vital signs to ensure that your experience is as safe as possible. Another advantage to this type of sedation is that it can safely be used along with nitrous oxide for an even deeper feeling of relaxation. Because the effects of oral sedation last longer than with nitrous oxide alone, you will need someone to bring you to your appointment and drive you home after.
Nitrous oxide, an inhalation sedative, brings one of the safest and easiest sedation techniques to nearly any procedure. Patients from young to old may benefit from a dose obtained just by breathing in and out.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas," is readily available in our office and provides an excellent way to combat anxiety for most dental procedures. The mildest form of sedation that we use, nitrous oxide flows through a comfortably fitting mask that rests over your nose. Nitrous oxide is an odorless gas that is used in combination with pure oxygen to induce a feeling of relaxation and well-being during treatment. Nitrous oxide often creates a pleasant feeling of euphoria that can make ordinary things seem funnier. We can easily customize the level of sedation for each patient, which takes effect within minutes.
As a mild sedation, you won’t experience any short-term memory loss as you might with other forms of sedation. At the end of treatment, the sedation caused by the nitrous oxide dissipates almost immediately, and you will be able to return home with absolutely no lasting effects. You don't even need an escort to or from your appointment if you are using only nitrous oxide for sedation.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
Sometimes anxiety about dental treatment keeps treatment from being completed, leading to further problems. If nearly falling asleep during treatment and waking up at the end would make it possible, then IV sedation might work for you.
Some patients may feel the need for a deeper level of sedation in order to feel comfortable with any procedure, and some procedures in dentistry may require a deeper level of sedation for anxious patients. When other methods of sedation aren't quite enough, IV sedation is a good alternative. During IV sedation, an anti-anxiety drug is administered through the blood system while treatment is being completed. This allows the medication to be more effective and to achieve a deeper level of relaxation. Even though you aren't technically being put to sleep many patients find they are so relaxed they doze off during their visit. You will probably not remember much (or anything at all) about the procedure because of the short-term amnesia it creates.
As with oral sedation, complex procedures seem faster and more treatment can often be completed in one appointment. You’re always properly monitored for your safety, and you do need someone to drive you home since there will be some lingering effects. We are happy to discuss your sedation needs and customize a plan for you.
Whichever method or medication you chose, you can be confident that it is being administered professionally by Dr. Hughes. Before you are given any type of sedation, your medical history and current medications will be reviewed.
Talk with Dr. Hughes today about the best sedation option for you.