Sedation Dentistry

Dentist in San Diego

Sedation Dentistry is a term used to describe the utilization of medication on a patient during a dental procedure. This medication is used to help you enter a highly relaxed state during treatment, providing a more positive dental care experience, even for patients who suffer from severe dental anxiety or dental phobia. We want you to feel safe and comfortable throughout your procedure and we know sedation dentistry can help achieve that.

The sedatives used in Sedation Dentistry:

  • Generally have no lingering aftereffects
  • Are used in conjunction with local anesthetics to ensure your total comfort
  • Are a safe and effective way to ensure you can relax during treatment
  • Are administered by trained and certified doctors

Moreover, Sedation Dentistry offers additional benefits to meet our patients’ individual needs.  Some of these include:

  • Sedation dentistry provides a gentle, soothing experience that can help you overcome dental anxiety or dental phobia.
  • Sedation allows your body to relax more completely, increasing the effectiveness of local anesthesia
  • Sedation reduces the sensation of passing time, which can be very useful if you need a complex procedure or multiple procedures done in a single sitting.
  • Sedation’s relaxing effects also prevent your muscles from stiffening or becoming sore due to spending extended periods of time in one position.

Though it is true that the dental procedures you need can be done without sedation, we find that many of our patients are greatly helped by using sedation dentistry as a part of their individual oral health treatment plan.

To ensure we provide the best fit for each patient, we offer three different types of Sedation Dentistry: Nitrous Oxide, Oral Conscious Sedation, and Intravenous Sedation. In every case, your sedation will be closely monitored by expertly trained and experienced dental professionals to ensure your safety and comfort at all times.

Nitrous Oxide, also commonly known as laughing gas, is the mildest form of dental sedation. Once inhaled, it induces a state of mild relaxation and reduces sensitivity to pain. Nitrous Oxide is safe for virtually every patient, regardless of age. Following the procedure, oxygen will be used to neutralize the effects of the nitrous oxide. Once this is complete, you will be fully alert and able to drive yourself home, if desired.

Oral Conscious Sedation, or OCS, provides a stronger level of sedation than Nitrous Oxide. Many patients prefer to use OCS for the deeper relaxation it provides.  Though you are still able to stand, walk, or answer questions, you remain in a calm and drowsy state throughout the treatment. With OCS, many patients have found they have little memory of the procedure after the fact. For patients with dental anxiety, this can be a great benefit.

Intravenous Sedation, or IV Sedation, is generally used with shorter treatment sessions. The effects are immediate and may cause you to feel as though you slept through the treatment. You may feel groggy when the IV is stopped, but this will fade over the next few hours.

Unlike with Nitrous Oxide, if you choose Oral Conscious or IV Sedation, you will need someone to provide your transportation on the day of your procedure. While there are no lingering aftereffects, the sedative effects of these options can take up to 24 hours to fully diminish.

There are several reasons why many of our patients choose sedation dentistry. The most common reasons why sedation dentistry might be right for you include:

  • Dental anxiety or dental phobia
  • Fear of needles, commonly used in local anesthetics and IV sedation
  • Low pain tolerance
  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Problematic gag reflex
  • Difficulty getting or staying numb
  • Hyperactivity
  • Time constraints requiring multiple or complex procedures to be completed within fewer sittings

Your safety is our top priority. At your appointment, be sure to tell us:

  • Any prescription medications or over-the-counter medications you are taking
  • Any herbal or nutritional supplements you are using
  • Any allergies you have, particularly medication reactions
  • Any health conditions you have
  • Any questions or concerns you may have about your treatment or about sedation dentistry

Keep in mind:

  • You should be fully functional within 24 hours following your procedure.
  • You may have little or no memory of the procedure due to the amnesia-like effects of the sedative.

For more information, to discuss questions or concerns, or to schedule a consultation, contact us.