Dental Anxiety

Sedation Dentistry: The Key to Anxiety-Free Dental Visits

Jan 24 • 5 minute read

Dental procedures like root canals and tooth extractions can result in a lot of anxiety for most people. However, the good news is that sedation dentistry offers a solution to alleviate these worries. We are here to help you explore the various types of sedation dentistry available at Marysville Family Dentistry and discuss how they can enhance both your mental and physical comfort.

Understanding Sedation Dentistry: Options Available

Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedatives to offer patients a reliable, comfortable experience at the dental office, alleviating anxiety and reducing sensation. Patients that undergo sedation-assisted treatment receive the comfortable care they need to stay healthy and look their best.


IV Sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation stands out as a highly effective option for patients that deal with moderate to severe dental anxiety. This method involves the controlled administration of sedative medications directly through an intravenous line during dental treatments. Beyond anxiety relief, IV sedation allows for the intravenous delivery of medications to address pain, inflammation, and antibiotics.  IV sedation also brings an amnesic effect to each patient, allowing little to no memory of the appointment.


Benefits of IV Sedation:

  • Customized Sedation Levels: IV sedation offers a high degree of control over the sedation level, allowing dental professionals to customize and maintain the patient's comfort throughout the procedure. Additionally, it provides deeper sedation options compared to other methods, making it suitable for more complex or lengthy dental procedures.
  • Rapid Onset and Titration: The IV administration works quickly to relax the patient, allowing the dentist to adjust the dosage in real-time to keep them relaxed and cooperative throughout the procedure.
  • Amnesia Effect: Similar to other sedation methods, IV sedation often induces an amnesic effect, leading to limited recollection of the procedure. This reduces anxiety about future dental visits.
  • Pain Management: Medications to reduce pain can be administered through a vein while also using local anesthesia to better control pain during a dental procedure.
  • Professional Monitoring: Dental professionals continuously monitor vital signs, including heart rate and blood pressure, ensuring the patient's safety during the procedure.

Candidacy for IV Sedation

IV sedation requires a medical history and is not universally suitable for all patients. Individuals with specific respiratory or liver conditions, among other medical circumstances, may not be optimal candidates. 

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation has become a valuable technique in dentistry, offering patients a way to relax and manage anxiety during dental procedures. This method involves the administration of medications in pill form, taken orally before the scheduled dental appointment.


Benefits of Oral Sedation:

  • Anxiety Reduction: Oral sedatives help calm patients' nerves, providing a comfortable and stress-free experience during dental appointments.
  • Ease of Administration: Convenient and non-invasive, oral sedation involves taking medication before the appointment, allowing it to take effect by the time patients arrive at the dental office.
  • Varied Sedation Levels: Tailored to individual needs, different medications and doses can achieve varying levels of sedation, from mild relaxation to moderate sedation, based on the complexity of the procedure.
  • Amnesic Effect: Many oral sedatives have a mild amnesic effect, reducing patients' memory of the dental procedure and further alleviating anxiety about future appointments.

Candidacy for Oral Sedation

Not suitable for all patients, especially those with specific respiratory or liver conditions, individuals with various medical circumstances may not be optimal candidates for oral sedation. While oral sedation offers relaxation and mild amnesic effects, it may not provide complete anxiety relief for everyone. If concerned about the level of anxiety relief, it is recommended to consider alternative options such as IV sedation. 

Laughing Gas at the Dentist

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas," has been a staple in dentistry for decades, serving as a mild sedative and pain-relieving agent. Administered through a mask covering the nose, it allows patients to breathe in a controlled mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Nitrous oxide is the lightest sedation choice available. For those who require more than laughing gas for comfort, deeper sedation options are recommended.

Benefits of Laughing Gas:

  • Anxiolysis: Alleviates anxiety and reduces fear in dental patients. Induces a sense of relaxation and euphoria, helping anxious patients feel at ease during procedures.
  • Pain Management: Provides mild pain relief, enhancing the comfort of dental procedures. Often used in combination with local anesthesia for optimal pain control.
  • Rapid Onset and Offset: Fast onset of action, typically within a few minutes. Effects wear off quickly after discontinuation, allowing precise control of sedation level.
  • Lack of Residual Effects: Nitrous oxide is not metabolized in the body, meaning the patient can drive to and from the appointment without the need for further assistance.  Once the nitrous oxide is turned off, the patient can simply go about their day as normal.


Candidacy for Nitrous Oxide

While nitrous oxide is beneficial, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain respiratory conditions or medical issues may not be good candidates. While it offers relaxation and pain relief, it might not provide complete anesthesia for complex dental procedures, requiring additional forms of sedation or anesthesia.


Common Sedation Dentistry Questions

Is Sedation Worth It for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

The decision to use sedation for wisdom teeth removal depends on your pain tolerance and your dentist's recommendation. Sedation can help manage anxiety and discomfort during the procedure. It's important to communicate openly with your dental about any concerns or fears you may have. They can provide guidance on the best approach for your specific situation.

What Do They Use to Sedate You for Tooth Extraction?

The sedation method chosen can be one of the three we have discussed. Your dentist will determine the most appropriate sedation method based on the complexity of the extraction and your medical history. It's important to discuss any concerns or preferences with your dentist before the procedure.

Can I Drive Home After Dental Sedation?

Patients who have received laughing gas during their dental appointment are generally allowed to drive themselves home. However, for those who have received oral or IV sedation, it is necessary to be accompanied to and from the appointment. The accompanying individual is required to stay in the waiting room throughout the procedure. Driving is not permitted after oral or IV sedation.

The Solution You've Been Seeking: Marysville Sedation Dentistry

If you've been avoiding dental procedures due to anxiety, sedation dentistry at Marysville Family Dentistry may be the solution you've been looking for. Whether it's IV sedation, oral sedation, or laughing gas, our experienced team can help you choose the option that best suits your needs. Don't let fear stand in the way of your oral health. Contact us today and learn more about the sedation options best suited for your upcoming appointment!

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