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Nervous About Your Upcoming Procedure? Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Jul 01, 2023
It’s normal to be nervous about an upcoming dental procedure. But, these days, there’s really nothing to be nervous about. Sedation dentistry keeps you calm and pain-free. Here’s how it works.

Whether you’ve had a dental procedure or not, you may feel jittery sitting in the dentist’s chair as they perform a root canal, extract a tooth, or administer other treatments. But whatever your experiences were in the past, or whatever misperceptions you gleaned from popular media’s depictions of the dentist’s chair, you can breeze through your next appointment.

Sedation dentistry not only keeps you pain-free, but it can also even calm your nerves. Just let our dentist know that you’re anxious, and we help you find the right type of sedation to make your oral procedure smooth sailing.

At AB Dental and Oral Surgery in San Antonio, Texas, Anthony Osei, DDS, PhD, offers three types of sedation dentistry in addition to local anesthetics that numb pain. How do you pick the type that’s best for you? The first step is knowledge.

Here, we discuss our three types of sedation dentistry. And don’t worry that you’ll pick the wrong one: We help you find the best option to reduce your pain and calm your nerves, too.

Laugh your cares away

Nitrous oxide is sometimes called “laughing gas” — for a reason. This easy inhalation method of sedation dentistry puts you in a euphoric state. While you may not actually laugh while the dentist is drilling, you feel calm, relaxed, and maybe a bit giddy.

With nitrous oxide, you simply inhale the gas through a mask. Although the gas makes you calm and happy, you don’t feel sleepy at all. In fact, after it wears off, you can even drive yourself home.

One interesting effect of nitrous oxide is that you may not even remember the procedure at all! That’s how relaxed you are, even as you remain awake. 

Be dreamy

Another alternative is oral conscious sedation, which is a bit of a misnomer. Even though you can stay conscious with this type of sedative, as you do with nitrous oxide, you’re more likely to drift off. However, instead of a deep sleep, you’ll be in a kind of “twilight” mode: Half in and half out of sleep.

You come in early and take a pill about an hour before your appointment time. Children can use a liquid form of conscious sedation if they’re not old enough to swallow a pill.

Unlike nitrous oxide, conscious sedation takes a while to leave your system. You need to arrange for someone to drive you home; you’re too sleepy and drowsy to drive or take public transportation safely.

Sleep it off

A conscious sedation injection induces a deeper state of relaxation. The medication goes straight into your bloodstream.

With injectable conscious sedation, you probably won’t stay awake at all. In fact, you’re very likely to fall deeply asleep in the dentist’s chair. You won’t feel or remember a thing.

But it just takes a simple jostle to awaken you after your procedure is done. Injectable sedation is often the best choice if you have extreme anxiety. You definitely need somebody to drive you home afterward; you may feel drowsy for some time after your procedure. 

How we choose

Don’t be anxious about making the wrong choice: We take sedation dentistry as seriously as you do. In addition to considering the procedure you’re about to have, we also ask you questions about your: 

  • Anxiety level
  • Health history
  • Personal preferences

We also manage your vital signs, dosage, blood pressure, and oxygen levels during your sedation dentistry experience to keep you safe and comfortable. 

Don’t put off needed oral care due to anxiety. Contact our team by phone or through our online form to learn more about sedation dentistry or make an appointment.