Does the thought of a routine trip to the dentist fill you with anxiety? Would you rather put up with the pain of a toothache than set one foot in a dentist’s office? You are not alone. Many people have a fear of the dentist that prevents them from seeking the treatment they need.

For those who fear sitting in the dentist’s chair, sedation dentistry may be the answer. Sedation dentistry allows you to be completely comfortable while you are being treated, and most of the time, patients have little to no memory of their treatment.

Who Should get Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients with a real fear or anxiety that is affecting their ability to pursue proper oral health.

Other patients who may benefit from sedation dentistry include those who:

  • Have a low tolerance to pain
  • Cannot sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • Have teeth that are very sensitive
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Need a significant amount of dental work completed

Children may sometimes be sedated with their parents’ consent if they are terrified of visiting the dentist, or if they cannot cooperate during their visit.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

At North Idaho Dental Group, we use the following methods for sedation dentistry:

Nitrous Oxide
Also known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide and oxygen are combined through a mask placed over your nose. The dentist will control the amount of sedation you receive, ensuring you receive the correct amount to help you relax. With nitrous oxide, you will remain awake during the procedure, and the gas wears off quickly afterward, allowing you to drive yourself home afterward.

Oral Sedation
Oral sedation is administered in the form of pills, typically the drug Halcion, which is a member of the same family as Valium. The pill is usually taken about an hour before your dental procedure begins, and depending on the dose, will provide mild to moderate sedation. With this form of sedation, it’s possible that you will fall asleep during the procedure.

IV Moderate Sedation
During this process, the sedative is administered intravenously, allowing it to take effect quickly. The dental anesthesiologist will continually adjust the level of sedation.

Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia
If it is determined that you need to be asleep during your procedure, the dental anesthesiologist will administer general anesthesia. You will be fully unconscious, and not easily awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off.

Who can Administer Sedation Dentistry

It is common for most dentists to be able to administer minimal sedation, such as nitrous oxide or pills. More training is required to administer moderate sedation, and only a small percentage of dentists are certified to use the most complex techniques.

At North Idaho Dental Group, we contract with professional dental anesthesiologists, allowing us to to safely utilize deep sedation and general anesthesia for both children and adults.

Risks of Sedation Dentistry

Although there is always risk involved when receiving anesthesia, the process is generally safe for adults and children. Our dental anesthesiologists have been highly trained, and are very experienced.

Patients who are obese or who have sleep apnea should take extra care, as they are at greater risk for developing complications from anesthesia.

Ready for Sedation Dentistry?