If you have broken, missing, or hurting teeth but find yourself avoiding the dentist because of fear and anxiety, sedation dentistry may be right for you. From the mildly relaxing effects of nitrous oxide to the deeply restful state that IV sedation provides, finding a sedation option that will allow you to receive the dental treatments you need without fear or pain is possible.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry provides a variety of solutions that allow patients with dental anxiety and dental phobias to relax. At Ark-La-Tex Pediatric Dentistry, we practice gentle dentistry. Texarkana and New Boston dental anesthesiologist Dr. Brian Steele is trained in the delivery of a variety of sedation methods and will work closely with you to choose the one that best suits your unique needs. Whether you want to “take the edge off” or prefer dozing through your appointment (with little to no memory of your procedure), we have an option that is perfect for you.
When choosing a sedation method, it is good to know the levels of sedation that can be reached:
- Minimal sedation: This is the lowest level of sedation; you feel deeply relaxed but are awake and aware.
- Moderate sedation/conscious sedation: This is a deeper level of sedation that may cause you to slur your words and have delayed reaction times. You may not remember your treatment clearly.
- Deep sedation: This is the deepest level of conscious sedation; you may be on the edge of sleep or you may snooze, but you can still be awakened.
- General anesthesia: You will sleep through your treatment; you’ll be unable to be awakened until after the procedure.
Types of Sedation
At Ark-La-Tex Pediatric Dentistry, we offer several sedation options. Dr. Steele will meet with you to decide which one is best for your child.
Nitrous oxide: This sedation option is administered through the inhalation of nitrous oxide gas (a.k.a. laughing gas) and works well for those with mild anxiety. This is the most common form of sedation in dentistry. It’s easy to administer and wears off quickly, so patients are able to safely leave the office on their own.
Oral conscious sedation: This is a pill that is administered orally and provides a deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide. This form of sedation is appropriate for those with moderate or severe dental anxiety. Most patients find that they have little memory of the appointment and doze through it. Assistance returning home after treatment is required.
IV conscious sedation: Also known as moderate conscious sedation, IV sedation is the most effective sedation method available and allows those with extreme fear to reach a deep level of relaxation. The dentist administers the sedative/anesthetic combination directly into the bloodstream, resulting in a precise level of sedation quickly. Patients enjoy a profound amnesia effect, resulting in little to no memory of the dental procedure.
General Anesthesia: This is a drug-induced deep sleep. Patients will be unconscious and unable to feel pain during their dental procedure. When the procedures is complete, the patient will gradually awaken and may feel groggy and confused when they first awaken. Assistance returning home after treatment is required.
Who Can Perform Sedation Dentistry?
As part of our dedication to delivering gentle dentistry, Dr. Steele has completed the training and accreditation required to perform sedation dentistry and general anesthesia in office. Texas’ dental board carefully regulates the use of sedation techniques, so you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
- Have a low pain threshold
- Struggle with sensitive teeth or a strong gag reflex
- Need extensive work that requires multiple treatments; sedation dentistry allows the treatments to be done in fewer visits