A visit to the dentist should not be something you fear. At Sullivan Dental in St. Francisville, we can help you receive the care you need with the comfort you deserve by incorporating appropriate sedation dentistry techniques into your treatment plan.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is an aspect of dental care in which focus is given to the natural anxiety that some patients feel when in the office. There are several sedation techniques available today, enabling us to meet each patient’s needs based on their personal level of dental anxiety and the procedure that is being performed. Though the methods of sedation differ in terms of delivery and dosing, the end result is the same: a calm and comfortable patient.
Our office administers these sedation methods in the care of a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist). Each patient can choose an alternative that is right for them. Patients have the ability to choose which sedation best suites them. Our patients are able to choose between the following:
- Nitrous gas (laughing gas)
- Oral sedation
- Intravenous injection (IV)
What are the benefits of Sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry settles the nervous system so any person with dental anxiety can receive the care they need to keep their mouth healthy. Having sedation meets a patient’s need for comfort and understanding without a sense of judgment. In a calm state, a patient can undergo treatment with confidence.
The use of sedation during dental visits diminishes ongoing anxiety and decreases risks for extensive dental problems in the future. Patients who choose sedation often become much more consistent with their dental care, enabling them to enjoy visits that revolve around prevention rather than restoration. As a result, oral health remains in a generally good condition.
Sedation isn’t just for people with dental anxiety. These techniques can also be utilized to combine procedures into a single visit. Since sedation affects how a person senses time, an extensive procedure can feel as though it takes only a few minutes.
What Is Dental Anxiety?
Studies indicate that millions of people struggle with the idea of seeing the dentist. This situation is referred to as dental anxiety. Many people feel somewhat anxious when they need to see the dentist for treatment. Dental anxiety often coincides with significant dental problems due to the lack of consistent care. This only exacerbates the original problem. Sedation can provide a way out of the cycle of fear and pain for good.
There are numerous reasons why a person may feel uneasy in the dentist’s office. Only some situations relate to a significantly traumatic experience with a dentist in the past. In many cases, dental anxiety begins early in life with minor nervousness that is not addressed. With each subsequent visit, nervousness strengthens.
Dental anxiety may relate to experiences shared by others, such as the stories that have historically been circulated about root canal treatment. Anxiety may also have nothing to do with dentistry but may relate to other life traumas that make it difficult to feel confined to any space.
What is Nitrous Gas?
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. It is sometimes called “laughing gas”, is one option for sedation. This means that, when a person inhales nitrous oxide gas, they receive pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing benefits.
How Does Nitrous Gas Sedation Work?
The gas, combined with oxygen, is breathed in through the nose and it helps you relax. The dentist controls the amount of sedation you will receive and the gas wears off quickly after your treatment is complete. Nitrous oxide is a safe and efficient form of dental sedation that can be used by patients of all ages who are capable of breathing through a nasal mask. Within a few breaths, nitrous oxide reaches the lungs and spreads throughout the body through the blood.
The presence of nitrous oxide in the blood diminishes the responses of the central nervous system, where feelings of fear and anxiety originate. A slowed central nervous system may cause slight grogginess and, in the instance of nitrous oxide, a euphoric, happy sensation.
Benefits of Nitrous Gas Sedation
Nitrous gas is the only type of sedation that allows you to drive yourself to and from our office safely. There are benefits gained with nitrous oxide that are not available with other forms of sedation:
- Effects are noticed within a minute or two
- Effects disappear within several minutes after increasing oxygen intake
- Patients can safely drive and resume normal activities immediately after treatment
- The effects of nitrous oxide can be adjusted to maintain the proper level of sedation
- Most patients do not remember treatment that included nitrous oxide sedation
What Is Oral Sedation?
Oral sedation dentistry is the administration of oral sedative drugs in combination with the nitrous gas. This is a recommendation for patients that experience fear or anxiety. The dentist prescribes a sedation drug, such as Triazolam, Ativan, or Valium.
How Does Oral Sedation Work?
Oral conscious sedation has become a popular form of relaxation therapy for adults with dental anxiety. It involves taking a pill shortly before undergoing dental treatment. We conduct a thorough consultation and medical history to discern which sedative medication and dosage is most appropriate for each patient. The effects of oral sedation take longer to become noticeable, so an initial dose may be taken the night before treatment or approximately one hour before the dental appointment.
Patients who choose oral sedation or IV sedation need to have reliable transportation to and from the office and will want to reserve the remainder of their day to rest and relaxation. Normal activities should not be resumed until the effects of the sedative have completely worn off. Usually, this happens over several hours.
With oral sedation, it is important that the patient is not left alone for 24 hours. It is extremely important for the patient to have a companion to drive them to and from the appointment, as well, as assist them when they return home.
What Is IV Sedation Dentistry?
Intravenous sedation is medication delivered through a very small needle placed in either the top of your hand or within your inner elbow. This type of sedation is designed to make patients completely comfortable and eliminate any anxiety patients may be having. We have well trained certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), who travel to our office to administer IV sedation and who monitor patients throughout their appointments.
This type of sedation is comparable to that, administered during a colonoscopy procedure and is not general anesthesia. Patients will need to have a companion with them to drive to and from the appointment and assist them for the next 24 hours.
IV Sedation Patient Testimonial
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
All forms of sedation dentistry that are available today, nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation, have been carefully tested and studied to confirm safety and efficacy. Our team is trained and certified in the various sedation techniques. We administer sedation following strict guidelines and monitor patients’ vital signs throughout treatment.
The use of sedation in dental procedures does not inhibit patient function. Patients are able to breathe and swallow on their own. In many cases, the patient is in a conscious state that allows them to communicate with our staff as needed.
Schedule a consultation
For more information about Sedation Dentistry and the services we offer, call 225-635-4422 to schedule a consultation. Sullivan Dental Center serves St. Francisville, Baton Rouge, Zachary, and surrounding areas.