Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry can help many people who find it hard to get regular dental care, including people with:

  • Dental anxiety or phobia
  • Previous bad dental experiences
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • Difficulty sitting still for treatment
  • Need for long dental procedures

If this describes you, the odds are good that you will enjoy the benefits of sedation dentistry.  You’ll have dentistry that is more comfortable, more convenient, and an overall better experience. 

Many people with dental anxiety enjoy another benefit of relaxation dentistry: eliminating your dental anxiety. By building up some positive dental experiences, you can stop thinking of the dentist as something you fear. As you get more comfortable, we can reduce the level of your sedation until, ultimately, you don’t need it anymore.

Finding the Right Sedation Dentistry Option for You

We understand that not everyone has the same level of need for sedation dentistry. That’s why we offer various sedation options to help you relax at the dentist. You can choose from:

  • Minimal (nitrous oxide)
  • Moderate (oral conscious sedation)
  • Deep (IV sedation)
  • General anesthesia (IV delivery with breathing support)

We’ll talk to you about your personal experiences and needs and go over the details of your procedure to determine what level of sedation will work best. For deeper levels of soothing, we might ask your doctor to evaluate your fitness for the procedure and recommend necessary support.

Minimal Sedation (Anxiolysis) with Nitrous Oxide

For people who have low levels of dental anxiety, have a strong gag reflex, experience soreness after dental treatment, or have difficulty getting numb, nitrous oxide sedation is often a great choice. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is an inhaled sedative that might make you sleepy but mostly makes you unconcerned about your dental treatment. You’ll feel your anxiety melt away, but you’ll be fully conscious and can respond to instructions. 

Nitrous oxide can take effect quickly, is fully adjustable for the length of your procedure, and allows quick recovery, making it the most convenient sedation option. Plus, nitrous oxide has an analgesic effect, making it an excellent choice for people with difficulty getting numb.

Moderate (Conscious) Sedation with Oral Medication

If your anxiety is more severe or you don’t like nitrous oxide, we might recommend oral conscious sedation. In this approach, you will take a mild sedative similar to Valium. You will have to take the medication at our office and then wait for it to take effect before we begin treatment. You’ll be conscious and can respond to questions, but sometimes, we have to work hard to get your attention. 

Oral medication is relatively convenient, but it does have limitations. As we noted, you must wait for it to take effect. It’s also difficult to extend the length of effective sedation, so sometimes, we might not be able to complete a procedure if complications arise. You will also need a responsible adult to drive you home after your procedure, and it’s best if they stay with you until you recover fully.

Deep Sedation with IV Medication

For cases of severe anxiety or very complex procedures, we might recommend deep sedation. For this approach, we will typically deliver sedative medication intravenously so we can control the exact amount you get over time. This lets us get you to the level where you are barely conscious and don’t respond to most things around you, including any anxiety-inducing situations. IV sedation can start quickly, and we can maintain the sedated state for as long as necessary to complete your procedure.

For deep sedation, we’ll want to check with your doctor in case you need breathing support–or if there are cardiovascular problems that might make this dangerous. Recovery may be slow. You’ll need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay until you are fully recovered.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia uses different medications than deep sedation, but they are also delivered intravenously. You’ll be completely unconscious and won’t wake up until your procedure is over. We’ll only recommend this approach for the most serious cases. 

Most people need breathing support with general anesthesia. We’ll also want to talk to your doctor about your fitness for this approach. When we perform procedures under general anesthesia, we might recommend a hospital or another fully equipped surgical facility. Sometimes, it’s best to remain under observation after general anesthesia. If you are released, you will want a responsible adult to drive you home and care for you until you’re fully recovered.

Get the Dental Care You Need, Even If You’re Anxious

At Stephens & Gatewood Dentistry, we’re prepared to handle all sedation dentistry needs to help anxious patients care for their oral health. Since we frequently perform oral surgery, including complex dental implant cases, patients often need significant support to get and maintain the beautiful smile of their dreams. 

To learn how we can help you overcome anxiety and other difficulties to achieve your beautiful smile. 

Please call (281) 320-2000 or use our online form today to request an appointment at Stephens & Gatewood Dentistry, serving Spring, TX, from two dental offices.