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How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

September 26, 2023
How Does Sedation Dentistry Work? | Bronxville Family Dental

For one reason or another, many dental patients have fears and anxieties about sitting in a dentist's chair. Perhaps they had a bad experience as a child or even as an adult, or maybe they don't even know why. 

The good news is that sedation dentistry can help them meet their goals of improving their dental health and enhancing their smile. Sedation dentistry keeps patients relaxed so they can undergo dental procedures without physical or psychological discomfort.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

The goal of sedation dentistry is to induce a sense of calm, relaxation, and ease while undergoing various dental procedures. Typically, sedation dentistry relies on mild to moderate levels of sedation, keeping you awake while producing a profound sense of relaxation. 

Often referred to as conscious sedation dentistry or "twilight sleep," sedation also often causes temporary amnesia, leading to forgetfulness, and provides pain insensitivity without causing loss of consciousness.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry offers varying levels of relaxation modified to your specific sedation needs. Your dentist will help identify which method might be right for you based on the following:

  • Your anxiety level
  • The procedure's duration
  • Your medical history
  • Your personal preferences

Common sedation options include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and intravenous (IV) sedation.

Nitrous Oxide

Known as "laughing gas," nitrous oxide is inhaled via a mask or nosepiece, inducing a calming effect within three to five minutes of administration. Your dentist administers and adjusts the sedation levels as needed throughout the dental procedure. 

Afterward, your dentist turns on pure oxygen to flush out the nitrous oxide quickly, allowing you to drive yourself home due to its swift exit from your system.

Oral Conscious Sedation

In this method, your dentist prescribes a sedative medication, often in pill form like triazolam (Halcion®) from the diazepam (Valium®) family. You take the medication approximately an hour before the procedure.

Oral sedation can lead to drowsiness or even sleep. Yet, communication with your dentist remains possible, and awakening occurs with a gentle touch. Given its impact on memory and motor skills, arranging for a friend or family member to drive you home post-procedure is necessary.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

IV sedation dentistry, the deepest conscious sedation provided within a dental office context, involves administering sedatives directly into your bloodstream through an IV line. Monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels during the procedure ensures safety. Dosage adjustments and the use of reversal medications are also possible. 

Most patients under IV sedation fall asleep and have minimal recollection of the treatment upon waking. This option is ideal for those dental patients with significant dental anxiety or undergoing lengthy procedures.

Learn About Sedation Dentistry at Bronxville Family Dental

Whatever dental procedure you may face, the compassionate professionals at Bronxville Family Dental are here for you. We will discuss your concerns surrounding sedation dentistry and develop a treatment plan that keeps you comfortable while getting the necessary and desired dental procedures. 

We want you to feel relaxed and comfortable so you can walk out of our office and show off your new smile without worry. Contact us today at 914-337-8430 to learn more - or to schedule an appointment.

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Bronxville Family Dental
1 Pondfield Road Suite 103
Bronxville, NY 10708
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1 Pondfield Road Suite 103
Bronxville, NY 10708
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