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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