Understanding the Different Types of Dental Sedation

Dental sedation

Dental anxiety affects over 30% of Americans. Fear of the dentist can often lead people to avoid check-ups, cleanings, or treatment for oral health issues. This can result in serious dental problems, such as periodontitis or tooth loss, that may require more intensive treatment.

Poor oral health can also have an adverse impact on your overall health. Plaque that builds up on teeth is linked with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, and people with gum disease have a higher incidence of developing type II diabetes.

It is crucial to get the care you need as soon as possible. Twice yearly dental exams can help prevent oral health issues before they worsen. If you have dental anxiety, several dental sedation options are available at Valley Dental Care to help you feel calm and comfortable during treatment.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide (NO₂), or laughing gas, induces a sense of calming euphoria when inhaled. This mild sedative is administered via a face mask and allows you to remain conscious but relaxed throughout the procedure, ensuring you can respond to commands from your dentist.

NO₂ is ideal for patients with mild dental anxiety who need routine procedures, such as receiving a composite filling or dental bonding. It is also an excellent option for people with a heightened gag reflex, which makes simple tasks like depressing the tongue or suctioning debris challenging.

Nitrous oxide is also suitable for children anxious about dental treatments. However, children receive a smaller dose and may need pure oxygen gas after the NO₂ stops.

Your dentist carefully controls NO₂ administration, and the effects wear off within minutes after the mask is removed. You should be able to drive yourself home after a procedure under NO₂ sedation. However, ensure you wait at the dental practice until the effects have fully worn off, typically 15 minutes.

IV Sedation

If you have severe dental anxiety and need to undergo a complex or invasive treatment, IV sedation is the best option. Procedures that may require IV sedation include root canal therapy, dental implants, or dental crowns.

Before you receive the sedative, your dentist checks your blood pressure. If you suffer from low blood pressure, you may not be a candidate for IV sedation. Sedative drugs lower the blood pressure and heart rate and may cause adverse effects in patients with underlying physical issues.

An anti-anxiety medication, such as Propofol, is injected into your bloodstream using a needle and intravenous tube during IV sedation. Your dental team monitors your vitals throughout the procedure to ensure you don’t have a reaction to the sedative. The sedative puts you into a conscious but highly groggy state. You’ll be able to communicate with your dentist, but you won’t remember the procedure.

You may continue to feel the effects of IV sedation for up to 24 hours after the procedure. Ensure you have a friend or family member attend your appointment with you to drive you home.

Maintain a Healthy Smile With Valley Dental Care

Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from getting the care you need. Call Valley Dental Care at our offices in Aurora or Oswego to schedule an appointment to discuss your dental anxiety with our experienced dental team.

We can recommend the right dental sedation option for your treatment and offer tips on managing dental anxiety so you can maintain a healthy smile.