Sedation Dentistry

Are you anxious about seeing the dentist?  Have you had bad experiences at the dentist in the past?  If so, you are not alone.  Many people suffer from various forms of “dental anxiety”.  For some, this fear of the dentist is so severe that they avoid getting dental treatment altogether, often for many years at a time.  Consequently, small dental problems can turn into much larger ones, leading to the need for much more extensive treatment.  This can, unfortunately, lead to a perpetual cycle of avoiding dental care, and then needing more dental work as a result.  This cycle eventually leads to worsening dental and overall health.
At Easy Dental Care, we have worked very hard to create an extremely comfortable space for you to receive your needed dental care.  We have numerous built-in amenities to make you feel right at home and at ease for your visits.  Despite our best efforts, however, some patients still need a little bit of help feeling comfortable enough to complete their dental care, and that’s OK!
For our patients that are a bit nervous, anxious, or downright fearful of the dentist, we have a number of options that will fit your needs, including nitrous oxide and sedation dentistry (sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”).
What is nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a type of gas that is used very frequently in the dental setting.  Commonly referred to as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide has been shown to put people at ease and reduce the nervousness that some patients have over their dental visits.  While not considered true “sedation”, nitrous oxide inhalation falls into the category of “anxiolytics” (things that reduce anxiety).  In the dental setting, nitrous oxide is administered via inhalation of nitrous oxide gas along with pure oxygen.
Nitrous oxide inhalation works almost immediately, making you feel comfortable, reducing stress and anxiety, and, for many patients, results in feelings of joy and sometimes laughter.  This can feel great if you are nervous about your dental visit!
Is nitrous oxide safe?
Treatment with nitrous oxide is extremely safe.  The onset of nitrous is rapid, and the effects are reversed very quickly.  When used properly, there are virtually no side effects to nitrous oxide use.  Nitrous oxide is commonly used for patients of all ages, from children to grandparents, with very few restrictions.  Make sure to discuss your health history with your dentist to make sure nitrous oxide is safe for you.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry, or “sleep dentistry” is the name often given to dentistry that is performed under a condition called conscious sedation.  Conscious sedation is a term that refers to the state of anesthesia that is somewhere in between your normal “awake” state and the full, general anesthesia used for extensive surgeries done in the hospital.  When you are sedated, you are fully relaxed and are free to fall asleep for hours at a time while receiving your dental treatment comfortably.  You can emerge from sedation relaxed and not even remember you were receiving dental treatment.
How is sedation different from general anesthesia at the hospital?
Sedation works by taking a simple sedative pill to completely relax your mind and body.  Sedation is referred to as “conscious sedation” simply because you can be aroused very easily in order to, among other things, use the restroom or have a drink of water.  This is not the case with general anesthesia.  In general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist has to administer certain treatments in order to awaken you safely.  Unlike with general anesthesia, you do not need to be hooked up to machines that maintain your breathing for you; you can breathe perfectly fine on your own.  Also unlike general anesthesia, you do not have to be under observation and recovery for hours or days afterwards, you are free to go home shortly after treatment.  This makessedation simpler, far safer, and much more convenient than general anesthesia.
Is Sedation Dentistry right for me?
You may be a candidate for sedation dentistry if you suffer from dental anxiety, dental phobia, or a condition that renders you unable to voluntarily control your movements.  If you are nervous or fearful about dental treatment, sedation can help relax you, making your experience more pleasant and comfortable.
Is Sedation safe?
Sedation dentistry is perfectly safe for the vast majority of patients.  It is important to discuss your full health history with your dentist to determine if sedation is indicated for you.
Does sedation hurt?  Do I still have to get needles?
Patients who are sedated usually experience very little discomfort the next day, even after several hours of extensive dental treatment.  Because sedation does not eliminate your reflexes and allows them to function normally, local anesthesia is still used for optimal results—only you don’t remember it!

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