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How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

May 27, 2024
How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

Sedation dentistry helps patients feel more comfortable about receiving necessary dental care. Many patients feel anxious about dental procedures, while others simply wish to relax.

Sedation dentistry uses safe, well-tested medications to produce feelings of relaxation and calm. Patients who receive sedation when appropriate can confidently make appointments and keep up with their oral care.

Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

Helps Anxious Patients Maintain Oral Health

Patients who experience dental anxiety may experience a decline in their oral health. If they miss routine cleanings and exams, they may not know about cavities and other issues until they have become more costly and challenging to treat. Patients with dental anxiety may be more likely to develop gum disease.

Helps Patients Sit Still

Children and special-needs patients sometimes have trouble staying still during dental procedures. Sedation dentistry helps these patients relax, making their appointments more manageable and efficient for everyone.

Helps With Fear Before Appointments

Many patients with dental anxiety report that the most stressful part of their treatment is the anticipation. When patients know they will receive sedation, they can take their minds off their worries before the appointment.

Two Options for Sedation Dentistry

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is a versatile sedation method that works for adults and children. It works by displacing a small amount of oxygen in the patient's system, producing a feeling of relaxation. Some patients also feel euphoria.

To administer nitrous oxide, the dentist applies a small mask to the patient's nose and gently secures it. The dentist gradually increases the flow of nitrous oxide gas through the nose mask until the patient is adequately relaxed. The dentist begins the procedure when the patient is ready. The patient stays awake and can respond to the dentist's questions and requests.

The dentist will turn down the nitrous oxide and increase the oxygen flowing through the nose mask toward the end of the procedure. By the time the dentist completes their work, the patient is well on their way back to normal.

The patient must rest for a few minutes to ensure no lingering effects before leaving the chair. Patients can immediately return to daily activities, including driving.

Conscious Oral Sedation

Conscious oral sedation uses various medications in pill or liquid form, given before the appointment. Dentists have multiple choices for conscious oral sedation medications and will select the best option for their patients.

Patients generally remain awake under conscious oral sedation, but they may briefly drift off or feel as if they have.

After the appointment, the patient must go home and rest for the remainder of the day, avoiding driving a car or operating machinery until the following morning.

Good Candidates for Sedation Dentistry

  • Good general health
  • Patients fearful about visiting the dentist
  • Patients without anxiety who want to relax during their procedures

Possible Contraindications for Sedation Dentistry

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes unless blood sugar is well-controlled
  • Medication allergy
  • Drug interactions, especially with psychiatric medications
  • Respiratory illness or congestion (nitrous oxide)
  • Drug use history

Frequently Asked Questions About Sedation Dentistry

Can I drive myself home from my sedation dentistry appointment?

If you have nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself home. One of nitrous oxide's advantages is that it wears off so quickly. After a few minutes of rest in the dental chair while you breathe oxygen, you will feel completely alert and able to drive without any problems.

If you have conscious oral sedation, you will not be able to drive yourself to or from your appointment. An adult must accompany you to your appointment and drive you home afterward. It would be best if you rested quietly for the rest of the day. Depending on your sedation level, you may not be able to complete other tasks like caring for children on the same day as your procedure.

Does insurance cover dental sedation?

Always check your policy before scheduling a sedation appointment. Many policies do not cover sedation, but most patients who receive it believe it is worth the investment.

Call College Street Smiles

If you believe you would benefit from sedation dentistry, we gladly welcome you to our practice. We take our patients' comfort seriously and want to ensure everyone can access vital care regardless of dental anxiety. Please call our Dickson, TN, office at 615-446-7878 to schedule your appointment today.

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College Street Smiles
320 E. College Street, Suite C
Dickson, TN 37055
Tel: 615-446-7878 | Fax: 615-446-4116
Monday | 8:00 am -5:00 pm
Tuesday | 8:00 am -5:00 pm
Wednesday | 8:00 am -5:00 pm
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Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

320 E. College Street, Suite C
Dickson, TN 37055
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