Modern Sedation dentist in Santa Rosa can do so much for your mouth and your smile to make them healthier and more beautiful. There is a long-standing fear of dental treatment that prevents many people from taking advantage of this opportunity. You can have an experience that is free of anxiety and pain even if you are one of these people. It can be accomplished by giving you local anesthetics or relaxing medications to block your sense of pain. It is not uncommon for both of the options to be needed for maximum comfort, especially if local anesthetic injections themselves are a major source of anxiety for you.
When you fear dental work, you raise your guard and lower your pain threshold; anticipating that something will hurt makes you hypersensitive to every feeling – even sounds. If this describes your experience in the dental chair, then sedatives may help ease your anxiety. Sedatives can be given during your visit to make your fear disappear.
A complete health history – including every prescription and over-the-counter medication you are taking – will be requested before any sedative is recommended. Smokers and alcoholics will also need to be disclosed. Because certain medications wear off over time, you may need a driver on the day of your appointment.
Anxiety Relieving Activities
Oral Sedation — Oral sedation (given by mouth) is a popular option for many people precisely because it does not require the use of needles. Oral sedatives are either swallowed whole in pill form or can be dissolved under the tongue. Both methods work in a matter of minutes. A variety of oral sedative and anxiolytic (anxiety-dissolving) medications have been developed through extensive research and testing to make your experience of dental treatment as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
All have long safety records after decades of use, and several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning you will remember little to nothing, even though you are conscious throughout the treatment. Commonly prescribed medications include Valium®, Halcion®, Sonata®, Ativan®, Vistaril®, and Versed®. To learn more, view our chart on Types of Oral Sedatives
Inhalation Conscious Sedation — Nitrous oxide, a sedative you inhale, has been used in dental offices for nearly 100 years. It is a relatively poor pain reliever but a very good anti-anxiety medication.
It is administered through a nasal hood, which resembles a small cup that is placed over your nose. The oxygen mixed with nitrous oxide provides a light-headed or even euphoric feeling, which is quick to wear off so there is no “hangover” effect. All bodily functions remain essentially normal during the use of this sedative, which is very safe.
IV Conscious Sedation — Sedatives delivered directly into the bloodstream intravenously (into the vein) are more potent than when taken orally, and the amnesic effects may be more profound. Because IV sedation has an almost immediate effect on the body and its functions — including heart rate, blood pressure and breathing — there is a higher degree of risk associated with it than with other types of sedatives. There is also a higher level of training required for those who administer it.
As with all sedation (except nitrous oxide), you must be monitored with specialized equipment throughout your IV sedation treatment. The main advantage is that drugs administered this way work immediately and the level of sedation can be adjusted more quickly and easily. And with most sedatives, you won’t remember a thing about your dental procedure after the sedative wears off.