While no one looks forward to sitting in a dentist’s chair, there are ways the dentist can help put your mind at ease. Patients receiving sedatives often have no memory of the procedure and are more relaxed both before and afterwards.

As with any procedure involving sedation, there are different methods and levels of appropriateness, depending on the procedure being performed. Depending on the length and difficulty of the procedure, your dentist will help you determine the best option based also on your level of anxiety. You may even have options to choose from. While sedation is generally safe, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your dentist, as well as be aware of any possible side-effects.

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 more pleasurable: 

  • Mild: The most common mild sedative is nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as laughing gas. Usually administered orally through inhalation, patients remain awake and breath on their own. A small nose-hood is placed over one’s nose and gas is supplied before and during the procedure. Patients then feel at ease during the course of the treatment.
  • Moderate: “Twilight Sedation” is a more moderate level of sedation used for patients with higher levels of anxiety or dental phobias. These drugs may be taken orally or intravenously; you may even get a medication to take before arriving at the office. In some cases, you may get an IV. The patient is technically conscious during the procedure, but feels as though they are sleeping. Your dentist will control the level and length of the sedation, keeping your comfort and safety in mind.
  • Deep: Patients undergoing complex dental work, including implants or root canals, may get a general anesthesia, or deep sedation. If selected for this type of anesthesia, you’ll be unconscious during the procedure and require breathing assistance.
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Because of it’s ease and the fact that no needles are necessary, oral sedation is the standard technique currently used in the United States. These medications leave patients comfortable, with little or no memory of a procedure they feel like they slept through. Patients remain conscious and can cooperate with basic instructions given by the dentist.

Sedation raises your level of pain tolerance by temporarily blocking pain impulses from your teeth and gums but it is different from anesthetic injections. This isn’t either/or however. Most dental procedures will still require and injection of local anesthetic, but this will occur after you’ve been sedated, decreasing the chances you’ll even remember it.

Needless to say, whichever type of sedation you’re given, you’ll want to have a responsible caretaker with you on the day of your procedure. They need to be able to get you home safely and monitor for a few hours until the sedation completely wears off.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry has shown many benefits since first being introduced. More and more people are no longer neglecting or delaying serious oral health issues and feel more confident seeking timely treatment. Complicated procedures can be completed in fewer appointments and shorter periods of time. Even procedures that may take hours often feel like only minutes for those patients under sedation. Most importantly, patients most at risk, those with severe anxiety and phobia are able to keep their smiles beautiful and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nitrous Oxide Sedation & Sedation Dentistry Columbus, Indiana [IN]

What kind of sedation should I get? 

We can’t answer this question for you in a google search or a FAQ section. The answer is highly individual and will be based upon the procedure, your anxiety level, and your health history. Be prepared to answer specific questions about your medical history and prescription drug use. You must be through and honest to get the best recommendation from your dentist.

Is sedation dentistry covered by insurance? 

Sedations is not usually covered by insurance. However, depending certain codes may apply depending on the length and complexity of your treatment. Please call your insurance company to discuss your coverage. Our office will make sure you know the costs and benefits and assist whenever possible.

What is a sedation pill?

“Sedation pills” are fairly new to the market, but are safe and becoming quite popular. Given in two doses, one you take before arriving, and one at the dental office before your procedure, they are oral medications that help patients feel deep relaxation. Occasionally, extra doses may be necessary.

Oral sedation is the preferred method of most patients and dentists, because of it’s ease and non-evasiveness. It’s best for shorter treatment and minor procedures. By reducing pain and painful memories, the benefits are often worth the cost. If you have any concerns about your procedure or the pain involved, it’s worth discussing this option with your dentist.

How long will I feel sedated after taking the pill? 

This depends on the type of sedation used during the treatment. Because of the number of drugs available and options that may be used, be sure to talk to your dentist about the side effects and how long you may be “woozy.” Typically, though, the effects of sedation wear off somewhere between two and eight hours after the procedure.

What happens after the procedure is over?

Rest and relax to the best of your ability! Allow yourself to recover, ideally in the presence of a caretake, at least for a few hours. Everyone is different, but most people return to “normal” within 24 hours. Those patients that are older or with other health concerns, may feel the effects of sedation longer. Consult with your dentist to set proper expectations.

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