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Family Dentistry

Dental Sedation—Is It Right for Me? | Family Dentistry, Wichita

Family Dentistry Wichita
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You may have heard of sedation dentistry or even heard it advertised. But is it right for you?

Cambridge Family Dentistry in Wichita offers sedation dentistry for patients who experience dental anxiety or for more invasive procedures. While the decision to use sedation should be made with your dentist, here are some basics.

  • What Is Sedation Dentistry?

    Sedation dentistry uses medication to help you relax during dental procedures. It may be used to calm anxiety during a routine cleaning or keep you comfortable during a lengthy procedure.

    In most cases, dental sedation is minimal—you are awake but relaxed—or moderate. Moderate sedation, sometimes called conscious sedation or “twilight sleep,” creates a state of short-term forgetfulness. During the procedure, you are conscious but unbothered by your surroundings.

    Unconscious sedation is not used in the typical dental office setting but may be used for specific dental and periodontal procedures. Learn more below.

  • What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?

    There are levels of sedation dentistry that are appropriate for different situations. Your dentist will help you determine the best solution. For most types of sedation, you will also receive a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area and relieve pain.

    Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”)
    This is the most common type of dental sedation, available in nearly all dentist offices. You breathe nitrous oxide combined with oxygen through a mask or nosepiece. Within minutes, the gas provides minimal sedation that helps you relax.

    Your dentist controls the amount of sedation and adjusts your dosage as needed. After the procedure, they administer pure oxygen to flush the nitrous oxide out of your system. The effect wears off quickly. In most cases, you can drive yourself home after your treatment.

    Oral Sedation
    With oral sedation, you take a pill about an hour before your procedure. The pill delivers minimal sedation and makes you groggy. If you need moderate sedation, your dentist may increase the dose. It’s not unusual to fall asleep under moderate sedation, though you can be awakened easily without counteracting medication.

    Oral sedation takes longer than nitrous oxide to wear off, so you need a trusted person to drive you home after your procedure. You will need to wait 24 hours before driving or returning to work.

    Intravenous (IV) Sedation
    IV sedation is used for severe dental anxiety or more invasive procedures. It is a form of moderate sedation delivered into the bloodstream through an IV. The dentist monitors your vitals throughout the procedure and can adjust your dosage accordingly.

    You will likely fall asleep under IV sedation and have little or no memory of the procedure. You will need a trusted person to drive you home after your treatment and wait 24 hours before driving or returning to work.

    Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia
    Under general anesthesia, you are unconscious. Deep sedation makes you nearly unconscious. You won’t remember “being under” during the procedure, and you’ll need a trusted person to drive you home and monitor you afterward. You must wait 24 hours before driving, working or resuming normal activities.

    These forms of sedation aren’t found in the typical dental office setting. They may be used in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers for more invasive procedures or to treat people with special needs. They require highly specialized training and are typically delivered by oral surgeons or dental anesthesiologists.

  • Do I Need Dental Sedation?

    This is a question to discuss with your dentist. They will review your medical history (including any medications you take) and make recommendations. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Your dentist wants you to have a comfortable and successful treatment.

    In general, dentists may recommend sedation for people with:

    • Dental anxiety or fear
    • Special needs
    • Difficulty keeping still or controlling movements
    • Decreased sensitivity to local anesthesia (pain relief)
    • Low pain tolerance
    • Severe teeth sensitivity
    • A sensitive gag reflex
    • Fear of needles used to deliver anesthetic

    Dentists may also recommend or suggest dental sedation for lengthy or more invasive procedures or for patients who need a lot of dental work done in one session.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in all articles published on the Cambridge Family Dentistry website do not necessarily reflect the views of our staff members at Cambridge Family Dentistry.

Schedule an Appointment

Anxiety or fear shouldn’t keep you from the care you need. Cambridge Family Dentistry in Wichita is highly experienced in sedation dentistry and has solutions for you.

Please contact us at (316) 687-2110 or use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule an appointment. Patients are eligible for a free consultation or second opinion!

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