If you experience great anxiety and fear when sitting in a dentist’s chair, there are many ways the dentist can help you feel more relaxed. Patients, who receive sedatives, often have no memory of the dental procedure they underwent. 

Sedative methods differ in strength and purpose. Your dentist will determine the best option for you based on the complexity and length of the procedure, and the level of your anxiety. If you feel the proposed sedatives are not strong enough, you may request another option. Sedation is a a safe option, but it is always important for you to discuss the procedure and expectations with your dentist. 

Sedative drugs include, among others, anti-anxiety medications, depressants, tranquilizers and nitrous oxide.  

There are several different types of sedation that can make your visit stress-free: 

  • Mild: These sedatives can be administered through inhalation or orally. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is a common mild sedative. Patients feel at ease during the procedure, while being conscious and breathing on their own. A small nose-hood is placed over the patients’ nose, through which nitrous oxide is delivered before and during the procedure. 
  • Moderate: Moderate sedatives are used for patients with more moderate dental anxiety. They can be administered orally or intravenously. Your dentist may prescribe an oral medication to be taken before arriving at the office. Another option is injecting a sedative directly to the bloodstream (IV). The patient stays conscious (but feeling as if they’re sleeping) during the procedure, while the dentist controls the level and length of sedation. This type of sedation is also known as “twilight sedation”. 
  • Deep: Deep sedation is usually a general anesthesia. It is given to patients who are undergoing complex dental procedures, such as dental implants or root canals. Patients remain unconscious during the treatment and require breathing assistance. 
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Currently, the most common technique used in the US is oral sedation. It is easy and there are no needles involved. Medications create a very comfortable experience with most patients not remembering the visit and feeling like they slept through the procedure. For safety and cooperation, though, the patient remains conscious with oral sedatives.  

Sedation is different from anesthetic injections. It raises your level of pain tolerance. But even with the use of oral sedatives, most dental procedures will require an injection of a local anesthetic in the mouth. It will temporarily block pain impulses from the teeth and gums that are being treated. The injection of a local anesthetic occurs after you have been sedated, so you may not even remember the sensation. 

It important to have a responsible caretaker with you on the day of your procedure, regardless of the type of sedation you receive. They should get you home safely and stay with you for a period of time after the procedure is complete to wait for the effects of sedation to wear off (about 2-4 hours). 

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can have many benefits. It increases the comfort level of patients, who feel relaxed and calm during the procedure. People, who have received sedatives, often feel like the visit lasted only minutes, when in reality it might have taken hours to complete. Complicated procedures can be performed in fewer appointments. Sedation dentistry helps people, who experience severe dental anxiety and phobia, keep their smile healthy. They are less likely to neglect their oral health issues and more likely to seek timely treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Nitrous Oxide Sedation & Sedation Dentistry Cincinnati, Ohio [OH]

What kind of sedation should I get? 

The answer to this question is highly individual. You should talk to your dentist about your concerns and worries. They will discuss all the options with you and make suggestions depending on your dental procedure and level of anxiety. Please note that your dentist will ask about your medical history and a list of medications you’re taking, including supplements and OTC product, to ensure the best sedatives are chosen. 

Is sedation dentistry covered by insurance? 

Most insurance companies do not cover sedation. However, depending on the length, nature and complexity of your treatment, there might be certain codes that apply to you. It is always recommended to check your coverage with your insurance provider or discuss the costs and benefits with the dental office. 

What is a sedation pill?

To reduce dental anxiety, there are oral medications that can help patients feel deep relaxation. They are safe to use and are becoming quite popular. “Sedation pills” are a recent pharmacological development. Usually, the first tablet is supposed to be taken before the scheduled appointment. The second one is given at the dental office about an hour before the start of the procedure. Additional doses may be given in special circumstances. 

Oral sedation is preferred by many patients and works especially well for shorter treatments and minor procedures. It offers a range of benefits: it effectively reduces pain and helps eliminate memories of dental procedures. If you’re interested in this form of sedation, you should talk to your dentist about it. 

How long will I feel sedated after taking the pill? 

Most of the time, effects of oral sedation wear off within 2 – 8 hours after the procedure. The length of sedation depends on the type of drug that was administered. There are several different types of medications that can be used. It is crucial to discuss the side effects of sedation drugs with your dentist. 

What happens after the procedure is over?  

Many patients return to their normal activities within 24 hours or less. Of course, every person is different, which means they can have a different reaction to sedation. Generally speaking, older patients or those, who suffer from health problems, might feel the effects of sedation for longer periods of time. It is important to allow for a recovery period, preferably in a presence of a caretaker or a family member. 

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