Allowing Yourself Recovery Time from Sedation Dentistry

Allowing Yourself Recovery Time from Sedation Dentistry

If you have chosen to utilize sedation dentistry to address your anxiety or discomfort during dental treatment, you need to make preparations beforehand to be certain you are safe following your dental visit. Some sedation options leave you unable to drive or make decisions clearly, and you should be prepared to face whatever lingering effects come your way.

Conscious oral sedation is prescribed in the form of a pill that is taken orally. Typically, this pill is taken about an hour prior to the procedure in order to ensure relaxation and ease. Often a dentist will recommend that the patient take a dose the night prior to the treatment, making sure that the patient rests well and is in the best mental and physical condition for recovery. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is another form of conscious sedation. Both the pills and the gas leave patients comfortable and at ease, but still responsive to commands by the dentist or staff.

The next level of sedation is intravenous sedation, also called IV sedation. This sedation is the fastest acting of all the sedation dentistry treatments. A known side-effect of IV sedation is memory loss, so most patients won’t remember what happened while they were “under.” Many patients believe erroneously that they were completely “out” or unconscious during treatment, but this isn’t true. You are still able to respond to commands, but the memory loss makes you feel as though you are asleep.

You will not be allowed to drive yourself following IV or conscious oral sedation. Even though you are up and walking and talking, it may take hours before the effects of the sedation wear off enough to make it safe for you to drive. Do not even consider trying to trick the dentist into thinking someone else is driving you home. You could cause a serious accident and harm yourself or others.

Talk to your dentist to determine what is recommended as far as recovery time goes for your specific sedation dentistry treatment choices.

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When to Consider Sedation Dentistry

When to Consider Sedation Dentistry

If you avoid getting dental care because of the anxiety and fear of going to the dentist, you are not alone. It is estimated that forty million Americans don’t seek regular dental care because they are uncomfortable or afraid of going. Sedation dentistry has been developed to manage the pain and anxiety of dental visits, while still providing patients with the ability to respond to verbal commands and physical stimulation.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine if sedation dentistry might help you:
• You are fearful about dental instruments and procedures.
• Local anesthetics have not had a numbing effect on you in the past.
• Your gag reflex is overly sensitive.
• You have a fear of shots or needles.
• The noises, tastes, and odors associated with dentistry bother you a great deal.
• You have extremely sensitive teeth.
• Your dental problems are complicated, or you need to have several procedures in a single visit.
• You have experienced traumatic dental experiences in the past.
• Health issues such as neck or back pain or TMJ make it uncomfortable for you to sit in the dentist’s chair or open your mouth for extended periods.

Putting off dental care is not recommended because it can result in more serious problems or invasive procedures later. If some of the characteristics above describe you, consult your dentist about ways to help you relax and become more comfortable with checkups. Sedation dentistry techniques like IV, oral, or inhaled sedation may be just what you need to allow you to confidently seek dental care on a regular basis.

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Types of Sedation Dentistry

Types of Sedation Dentistry

In order to ensure your comfort and ease during a dental procedure, sedation dentistry is often the best option. Many levels are available, including conscious oral sedation, inhaled sedation, and intravenous (IV) sedation.
Conscious oral sedation minimizes patient anxiety while allowing the patient to remain partially alert. Oral sedatives are used to accomplish minimal to moderate sedation. They come in the form of a pill, and are often taken within an hour of your dental procedure. Some dentists recommend a mild oral sedative the night before an appointment to ease anxiety and ensure a good night’s rest.

Depending on the dosage and on the individual recipient, an oral sedative can sometimes cause the patient to “doze off,” but the patient will never be fully unconscious and will awaken with a gentle shake. Even though you are never fully asleep during conscious oral sedation dentistry, you may not drive yourself home because you will not be fully alert.

Inhaled sedation utilizes nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas.” This gas is inhaled through a mask while your dentist controls the amount you receive. This type of sedation allows a patient to relax and to be fully comfortable, but to still be responsive. Nitrous oxide sedation has a tendency to wear off quickly. Because of this, you may be able to drive yourself home after your procedure.

IV sedation (sometimes known as “sleep dentistry”) provides the deepest, most relaxed sedation during dental procedures. Despite the name, IV/sleep sedation does not cause you to completely lose consciousness. Because the drugs used naturally produce a full or partial memory loss while active in your system, you may not remember anything that happened during your procedure. IV sedation is the fastest of the sedation dentistry methods. The amount of sedation is controlled by your dentist. You should not drive after IV sedation, as you may not be fully alert for a period of time.

Talk to your dentist about which sedation is right for you to ensure your dental procedure goes well and that you are comfortable throughout treatment.

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All About Nitrous Oxide

All About Nitrous Oxide

One of the most commonly used sedatives in dentistry is nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas. It provides an effective technique in sedation dentistry, allowing patients to feel carefree and happy and pain-free. If used correctly by qualified dentists, nitrous oxide is a safe and valuable sedative.

Nitrous oxide is typically used when patients experience mild to moderate anxiety or fear when seeing the dentist for treatment. The gentle sedative properties of this gas helps patients who are not in extreme panic, but simply need calming.

One appealing thing about nitrous oxide is that it is administered by inhaling it through a mask placed over the nose. There are no needles required, which is a great benefit to many nervous patients. Another plus is that patients remain awake and aware of the environment during treatment, but are no longer anxious or upset about what is happening.

Some additional benefits of nitrous oxide include:

  • The sedation level may be adjusted at any time during treatment.
  • Since the healthcare professionals have control over the nitrous oxide at all times, it is a very safe choices and nearly impossible to overdose.
  • It works quickly, with the calming effects taking place in under three minutes of being administered.
  • Lengthy or complicated dental procedures can be performed while the patient is content and often unaware of the time spend in the dental chair. This also increases the dentist’s ability to perform multiple procedures in one visit.
  • Nitrous oxide is safe for patients with medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and epilepsy.

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How Sedation Dentistry can Change the Way You Experience the Dentist

How Sedation Dentistry can Change the Way You Experience the Dentist

One extremely common fear shared by many people is a fear of the dentist. Patients who possess this fear are often anxious and nervous about the sights, sounds and smells of a dentist’s office. Just imagining a routine visit can leave someone shaken and fearful, unable to sleep the nights prior to treatment.

Patients who share this common fear can put off necessary dental work. A fear of pain or needles can lead a patient to tolerate tooth pain or signs of infection in the mouth. If this sounds like you, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry options.

Many people assume you must be fearful at a phobic level to benefit from sedation dentistry. This isn’t true! Sleeplessness, anxiety and low-level fear can all be helped with some form of sedation dentistry. Oral sedatives can be prescribed to be taken the night prior to a dentist visit, as well as the day of, to ensure a restful night’s sleep and an easy day before treatment.

Sedation dentistry during procedures is very safe, as you are monitored at all times by the dentist. Because of the deep level of relaxation possible utilizing sedation dentistry, more work can be done in a single visit, cutting down on trips to the dental office.

General dentistry procedures such as checkups, regular cleanings and cosmetic treatments can all be performed on a patient being treated with sedation dentistry. For a patient with fear and anxiety, each therapy can be made better with the addition of sedation dentistry.

Over time, with the use of sedation dentistry, some of your fears and anxieties can begin to lessen. Positive experiences can build up mental and emotional trust in the dentist, and patients can find that they need less and less of the sedation to feel comfortable.


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What Makes a Good Sedation Dentist

What Makes a Good Sedation Dentist

Do you have apprehensions regarding dental exams or therapies? Do you find yourself worrying about your teeth and concerned about exams? You are not alone. Many people experience anxiety or fear regarding the dentist’s office. You might want to consider sedation dentistry.
Qualified sedation dentists are able to work with you to get the dental care you require without the burden of fear or nervousness that might lead you to postpone work.

Sedation dentistry therapies are overseen and administered by specially trained dentists and dental technicians. These dental professionals have undergone hours and hours of special education in sedation equipment, techniques and medications. These trained individuals are aware of the best sedation options for each patient type, and they can administer them safely and reliably.

If you are thinking about sedation dentistry for your next dental treatment, consider the following:

  • How much education does the dentist have related to sedation dentistry? What continuing education programs have been completed that specialize in anesthesia and conscious sedation?
  • What organizations does the dentist belong to that provide ongoing education to keep the dentist and staff apprized as to the latest techniques and research? A good sedation dentist is always looking to learn new procedures that can benefit his or her patients, and can do so through professional organizations such as the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology.
  • What equipment is in place to monitor a patient’s level of sedation? Sedation dentistry cannot be safely practiced without a pulse oximeter and oxygen equipment. Medications should be on-hand to reverse any rare reactions to the sedation.

It’s your right as a patient to have answers to these and all of your questions before you undergo any dental therapy. Your dentist should be very forthcoming. Having the right information allows you to make the right decisions for you and your dental care. Talk to your dentist today regarding these and any questions you have about sedation dentistry or his or her qualifications. Get the best care you need, and skip the worry!


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Amelia Dental Group
1947 Citrona Drive
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
P. (904) 261-7181
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