Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?
Sedation dentistry is a safe, reliable adjunct to many dental procedures, but as a mindful consumer, you believe in learning the facts before moving forward with any type of procedure. To help his patients stay informed and make conscientious decisions regarding their dental care, Stuart dentist Dr. Michael Sohl discusses a few critical aspects of dental sedation.
Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
Since nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) was first introduced in professional dentistry in the mid-1800s, dental sedation has been primarily concerned with easing the anxiety many people associate with dental care. However, these gentle, soothing techniques are appropriate for a wide range of needs, including:
- Mild, moderate, or severe anxiety, fear, or panic associated with receiving dental care.
- Sensitive gag reflex.
- Physical or neurological impairments that make sitting still in a chair for an extended period difficult, painful, or agitating.
- TMJ disorder, which can make holding the mouth open painful or difficult.
Common Types of Dental Sedation
Most general and cosmetic dentists offer the two most common types of dental sedation:
- Nitrous oxide. Often called laughing gas, this form of dental sedation is inhaled through a soft mask that fits over the nose. Nitrous oxide induces a low-level state of relaxation and euphoria, and wears off within a few minutes after the mask is removed. Nitrous oxide is most appropriate for patients who have a correspondingly low level of anxiety or distress but who nonetheless need some help relaxing in the dental chair.
- Oral sedation. Taken as a pill, oral sedation induces a much deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide and is appropriate for patients with more profound fear or anxiety or who will be undergoing a more complex treatment. While nitrous oxide wears off relatively quickly, oral sedative effects will linger in the body for several hours after you’ve left your appointment. Patients undergoing oral sedation will need a trusted adult to escort them to and from their appointment and stay with them for a few hours after the procedure.
Ensuring Your Safety During Dental Sedation
State safety protocols regarding the administration of sedation dentistry ensure that you are under constant supervision while undergoing a procedure with sedation. Your dentist and his assisting staff will monitor your blood pressure and heart rate to make sure you remain safe while receiving general, restorative, or cosmetic dental care.
Peace of Mind in Dental Care
We take your comfort and confidence seriously. When you arrive at our office, you will notice the inviting atmosphere. From the fresh flowers that fill the lobby to our fully stocked beverage bar, our amenities will make you feel like the treasured guest that you are.
Our treatment rooms offer blankets and pillows for your physical comfort, as well as ergonomic dental chairs. Before your procedures, ask Dr. Sohl about sedation options that will ensure your peace of mind and body during treatment. Based on your preference, Dr. Sohl may suggest nitrous oxide, oral sedation, a combination of both, or IV sedation.
Nitrous oxide is a sedative gas that provides analgesic benefits. It is common in dental procedures and has been safely administered for over 100 years. Nitrous oxide generally comes with no lingering side effects, which means that the patient can resume daily activities soon after the procedure.
Oral sedatives are calming medications taken by mouth to ease anxiety. Based on your medical history and treatment plan, we will determine your suitability in using oral sedatives. Unlike nitrous oxide, oral sedation requires that you do not drive after treatment.
We can administer a combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedation for stronger effects.
Dr. Sohl is credentialed by the Florida Board of Dentistry for IV conscious sedation. IV sedation uses similar medication to oral sedatives, but is administered through an IV. Some professionals describe this type of sedation as twilight, because it puts the patient in a very relaxed state – but does not invoke sleep.