With a variety of options to help patients through routine dental visits, sedation dentistry enables a dentist to administer mild sedatives or stronger sedatives and anesthetics right in the clinic. The type of sedative used depends on the circumstances of the visit and the patient, with the simplest forms taken orally or inhaled, and more intense sedation administered intravenously. Sedation dentistry is often used with patients struggling with dental anxiety, allowing the patient to relax throughout their cleaning or procedure.
Oral medications, such as Valium and similar prescription drugs, can be administered, usually an hour before the procedure. These relax the patient but allow consciousness to continue. The patient will feel drowsy and likely nap after the procedure, and an escort is required to bring the patient home. When oral medication is used for sedation dentistry, the prescription is typically provided to the patient at a previous visit and the patient is instructed to fill the prescription and bring it on the day of the procedure. [pullquote]Sedation dentistry is often used with patients struggling with dental anxiety, allowing the patient to relax throughout their cleaning or procedure.[/pullquote]
Laughing gas or nitrous oxide can be inhaled and it takes effect quite rapidly. This is one of the most common types of sedation used in sedation dentistry, with the dentist provided the ability to adjust the dose as needed. Laughing gas is a common sedative used with dental anxiety patients and children that struggle in the dental office. The effects wear off quickly once stopped, and most patients are free to drive themselves home after the procedure without the need for an escort. As with oral sedatives, laughing gas allows the patient to remain awake during the procedure, in a relaxed state.
For more complex procedures or those requiring significant time in the dental chair, IV sedatives may be used. These drugs are administered at the time of the procedure, taking effect quickly and inducing a state of deep relaxation. When IV sedatives are used, the patient requires an escort and there can be some side effects, such as nausea and drowsiness, as the medication wears off.
All forms of sedation dentistry are highly regulated and monitored, and used only by trained and authorized professionals. For more information about relaxed dental visits, contact the office of Dr. Lori Logan today.