Sedation Dentistry

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.

Nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.

Sedation dentistry is popular because sedatives can be taken by mouth.  Some sedatives work so effectively that even the smells and details of the procedure cannot be recalled afterwards.  Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:
  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • No pain.
  • Perfectly safe.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

What kinds of sedatives are available?

At Griffon's Gentle Dental, we offer both nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation.  Different levels of sedation can be utilized depending on individual needs.  Before administering any sedative, Dr. Griffon must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications and conditions.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nosal hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure.  Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being.  Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure.  In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear dental treatment.  Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation.  This means that most patients cannot remember  the procedure.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required. 

With oral conscious, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver.  Sedatives will provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not allowed.

What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures.  Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.