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Many dental procedures require sleep dentistry to keep the patient calm and anxiety-free. Sleep dentistry is made up of all the various dental sedation styles and does not always involve actual sleep. Read on to learn more about the different types of sedation used in dentistry.

Dental Sedation

Dental sedation includes a variety of techniques used to keep a patient calm before and during dental procedures. Dental sedation is not to be confused with pain management, as numbing agents and shots are used to keep the patient pain-free. Rather, dental sedation is used for those who may be frightened of getting a shot or undergoing the procedure and need dental sedation to keep them calm so they can receive it.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

  • Laughing Gas

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, is used in dental offices to keep patients relaxed. Because it is a gas, its effects wear off quickly once you stop breathing it. So, it is common for patients who only receive laughing gas as their sedative to be allowed to drive home after their procedure.

To ingest laughing gas, your dentist will give you a nose apparatus that allows you to breathe the gas in. You will begin to feel the effects about 30 seconds after breathing it. Most patients do not require another form of sedation—however, some patients require oral sedation in addition to the laughing gas.

  • Oral Sedation

Oral sedation, also known as conscious sedation, requires taking a prescribed sedative before your procedure. Depending on the circumstances, this might mean taking one pill the night before and one pill an hour before the procedure or as otherwise prescribed by your doctor or dentist. While this type of sedation does not put you to sleep during your procedure, it will relax you enough to prevent any anxiety during the procedure.  Oral sedation is the best option for those who experience higher levels of anxiety during dental procedures.

Even though oral sedation does not put you to sleep during your procedure, most patients do not remember much of their appointment after it has happened. In some cases, your dentist may want to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing, but this is not always necessary. Overall, the sedative will leave you feeling drowsy, and the effects will wear off by the next day. However, it is important to note that you will need a ride home from the dentist after your procedure, so you should plan accordingly.

  • IV Sedation

There are two types of IV sedation, including “twilight” and general anesthesia. Twilight IV sedation refers to a conscious state of being without being fully aware of your surroundings. In other words, Twilight IV sedation will make you feel very sleepy and less likely to remember your procedure afterward.

On the other hand, general anesthesia is the more uncommon option. It is usually reserved for patients who need more intensive oral surgery or those who are resistant to other types of sedation. Under general anesthesia, you will be completely unconscious and requires a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist to administer the sedative and monitor your vital signs.

What types of sedation can my dentist administer?

Most dentists can give their patients laughing gas or prescriptions of oral sedation pills. Recently, it is more common to see dentists becoming certified for the Twilight IV sedation option. However, dentists need to complete a special deep sedation program before administering any general anesthesia or deep sedation methods. Otherwise, the dentist will need to work with a dentist anesthesiologist to administer IV sedation to the patient safely.

When You Would Need Sedation Dentistry

Because everyone’s needs are different, it is best to talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have before your procedure. This way, they can recommend the best type of sedation to help you with your unique needs.

If you would like to learn more about your dental sedation options, give North County Dental Care a call today at 760.940.4266!

North County Dental Care brings together a host of dental specialists to provide a full spectrum of dental care for you and your family, all in one convenient location. Our family dentistry office in Vista, California, does not require referrals or running from one specialist’s office to another to receive the care you need. Best of all, we treat patients of all ages so that you can schedule your entire family’s dental appointments all in one place.