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Does the thought of visiting the dentist make your stomach churn and your heart race? Does the phrase “dental appointment” give you anxiety? If so, then sedation dentistry may be right for you. Sedation dentistry is an anxiety-free approach to dentistry. Although it is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”, sedation dentistry usually allows patients to remain conscious, but relaxed during their procedures. However, there are different levels of sedation that can offer varying results. Sedation dentistry is an ideal option for people with dental anxiety or for those undergoing potentially long or invasive dental procedures.

Did You Know?

Nitrous oxide is a dental sedative that was first discovered in the 1700s. At this time, it was given the name “laughing gas” because people who inhaled the gas would start laughing with feelings of euphoria.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I a candidate for sedation dentistry?

You may be an ideal candidate for sedation dentistry if you have an overactive gag reflex, highly sensitive teeth, don’t like to sit still, have a low tolerance for pain, need a large amount of work done, or if you have dental anxiety. To find out if you are in fact a candidate for sedation dentistry and which level of sedation is best for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin H. Speer of Oak Grove Dental Center today!

What sedation options are available at Oak Grove Dental Center?

Oak Grove Dental Center offers the following sedation options:

  • Inhaled sedation: with inhaled sedation, nitrous oxide gas is inhaled through a mask that fits over your nose. This gas will cause you to relax during your treatment and may even give you feelings of euphoria. Depending on the concentration of the gas, you can receive minimal to moderate sedation levels. Within a few minutes of stopping the gas, you will return to normal. This is the only sedation option that allows you the possibility of driving yourself home after your procedure.
  • Oral sedation: with oral sedation, you will take a Halcion pill about an hour before the start of your treatment. Depending on your treatment and anxiety levels, you may also be instructed to take a pill the night before your procedure. Halcion pills are commonly used as sleeping aids and will cause you to feel drowsy and relaxed. With oral sedation, you can receive minimal to moderate levels of sedation, depending on the dose.
  • IV sedation: with IV sedation, sedatives will be delivered directly through an IV in your arm. IV sedation offers the most control and the deepest level of sedation. While under IV sedation, you may either be conscious, drowsy, and able to respond to questions, or you will be completely unconscious, depending on the level of sedation.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Sedation dentistry is considered to be safe for the majority of dental patients. However, to be sure that sedation dentistry is safe for you, you will need to discuss any medications you are taking and any health conditions that you have. Specifically, you may want to mention if you have a congenital heart defect, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, renal disease, hypertension, an artificial joint, damaged heart valves, adrenal disease, an impaired immune system, or a history of endocarditis.

Some individuals, such as those who are pregnant, have allergies to benzodiazepines, are intoxicated, have CNS depression or certain types of glaucoma diagnosis may not be able to undergo IV sedation. Individuals with psychosis, sleep apnea, advanced age, or who have lung, kidney, or liver problems may need to exercise caution when having IV sedation.

How do I prepare for my appointment when using dental sedation?

Woman taking pill before bed to prepare for dental appointment

The night before your appointment, you will likely be given fasting instructions. With oral and IV sedation, you will need to avoid eating or drinking anything for 6-8 hours before your procedure. With nitrous oxide, you generally only need to avoid eating for about two hours before, although sometimes longer fasting is required. If you are having oral sedation, you may also be given medications to take the night before.

The morning of your appointment, you will want to dress in comfortable and loose-fitting clothing, as well as closed-toed shoes. For oral and IV sedation, you will also need to have a driver present to drive you home after the procedure. In some cases, a driver may also be required for inhaled sedation.

What can I expect while under sedation?

During your dental appointment, you can expect to feel extremely calm and possibly drowsy while under sedation. You will likely be indifferent to what is happening to and around you, and should not feel any type of anxiety. Due to the anesthetics, you should also feel no pain. Depending on the level of sedation, you may also fall into a light sleep, but you can easily be woken. If you are under deep sedation, you may be unconscious.

What can I expect after while coming out of sedation?

Woman sleeping in the car with a neck pillow

How you feel coming out of sedation will depend on the type and extent of your sedation. With nitrous oxide, the effects of sedation will wear off as soon as you stop inhaling the gas. Because of this, you will be back to normal shortly after your procedure and may be able to drive yourself home.

Oral sedation is effective quickly after ingestion and can last about 1-2 hours. After the first 1-2 hours, it will start to wear off. However, oral sedation can have residual effects and minor impairment for the remainder of the day.

IV sedation is probably one of the most longest-lasting sedation methods and you will continue to feel groggy for most of the day. Because of this, you will need a driver and someone to keep an eye on you for at least the first 24 hours.

At Oak Grove Dental Center, we believe that providing high quality dentistry is only part of creating a successful relationship with our patients. To experience some of the best dental care in Milwaukie, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin H. Speer today!