Gas, Oral, or IV: What Sedation Is Right for Me?

woman with short hair sit in dental office and look at camera

Many people are terrified of going to the dentist. They would rather suffer and endure the pain of an aching tooth than visit a dentist. However, sedation dentistry is here to change all that. For these people, dental sedation relaxes them before and during a dental procedure.

Who Can Get Sedated?

A dentist is the best person to decide who can undergo sedation and the type of sedation appropriate for them. However, dentists recommend the type of sedation depending on their patients’ level of anxiety, pain tolerance, and teeth sensitivity. Additionally, sedation is ideal for people undergoing long and complex procedures, those with a bad gag reflex, or those who cannot sit still on the dentist's chair.

Here are the three most popular types of sedation:

Laughing Gas

This is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. This type of sedation is safe and effective for relaxing patients. The dentist gives the patient a gas mask through which to inhale the gas. Dentists use this gas for minor procedures such as tooth cleaning and extractions. It has no taste or odor, and the patient remains conscious throughout the procedure.

The gas wears off quickly, making it the best option for people who do not have anyone to pick them up after the procedure. However, some may find the gas mask uncomfortable. In rare cases, some patients have reported having slight nausea and dizziness.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation refers to the use of sedative drugs, usually in the form of pills, to reduce fear or anxiety. Oral sedation can range from mild to moderate, depending on the dose administered. Dentists use pills for mild sedation. The patient can take the pills the night before or a few hours leading up to the procedure.

Oral sedation is ideal for patients who are uncomfortable with laughing gas and experience high levels of anxiety. During the procedure, the patient is fully awake and will feel little to no pain during and after. One may feel sleepy, but the effects will clear by the next day.

However, it takes almost an hour to kick in and wear off. Also, people react differently to the pills. Therefore, one should make arrangements for someone to drive them to and from the dentist’s appointment.

Intravenous Sedation

IV is administered directly into a patient’s vein. This sedation is ideal for patients with severe levels of anxiety or those who must undergo lengthy and complicated procedures. Also, those who cannot cooperate with the dentist physically or behaviorally are good candidates.

IV sedation is of two types: local anesthesia and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia blocks specific nerves and numbs the area the procedure is to take place. General anesthesia is administered in a hospital by an anesthesiologist. It is used for complex procedures and for patients who are allergic to all the other forms of sedation.

The patient will be unconscious during the procedure. This will make them have little or no memory of the procedure. Additionally, their vitals are monitored to ensure everything is running smoothly.

For more information on dental sedation, visit Dr. Sam's Premier Dentistry at our office in Sherman, Texas. You can call 903-708-6400 to book an appointment today.