What To Expect From Dental Sedation

Person undergoing oral sedation for dental treatment.

Ever wondered about dental sedation and what to expect? Well, we’ve got the answers. 

Does the thought of going to the dentist feel like you’re signing yourself up for torture and the pain you imagine is enough to make you avoid your dentist for years? You don’t have to feel that way, that’s just dental anxiety. And thankfully, there is such a thing as dental sedation, perfect for people like you! 

Conscious sedation is the real game-changer. It makes visits to the dentist feel less like a horror movie and more like a joy ride. With dental sedation, you can truly rest easy in your dentist’s chair. Sedation can be used for any dental treatment, from simple teeth cleaning to more invasive treatment. 

So what is dental sedation anyway and what should you expect? Let’s take a look, shall we?

What is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is the use of medication to help dental patients calm down and not feel pain during treatments.

Sedation varies from minimal to moderate to deep sedation. During minimal sedation, the patient is awake but calm. During moderate sedation, the patient is awake but not very conscious and will not remember much of the procedure afterward. For deep sedation, the patient is barely conscious but can be easily woken up.

Types of Dental Sedation and What They Feel Like

Dental sedation makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Depending on the type of sedation used, you will either be conscious or unconscious. Sedation also helps you not feel the pain of the dental procedure.

For some types of sedation, you won’t even remember the procedure. The last thing you will be able to remember is sitting down on the dentist’s chair and waking up.

Now, there are four types of dental sedation:

Oral sedation:

Oral sedation is the use of a pill, known as Halcion, which is given orally to the dental patient, usually given one hour before the procedure. Oral sedation can go from minimal to moderate depending on the dosage given. You’ll feel groggy and will likely fall asleep from a moderate oral session. Although you can easily be woken up with a gentle shake.

Inhaled minimal sedation:

With inhaled minimal sedation, the patient is made to breathe in nitrous oxide or laughing gas, mixed with oxygen. A mask is placed over your nose for this to be administered. The laughing gas makes you relax during the procedure and it wears off quickly. So it’s safe to drive yourself home after the procedure. This is what we use at Knight Street Dentists!

IV sedation:

IV sedation is a moderate type of sedation passed through your vein and the dentist can adjust the amount that goes in. This is not a very common method.

Deep sedation or general:

Under deep sedation, you will be either completely unconscious or close to it. The effect of the anaesthesia has to wear off before you can be woken up or medication will be given to you to reverse the effect.

Do Dentists Use Nitrous Oxide?

Dentists use Nitrous Oxide (N20) mixed with oxygen for sedation. This is also called laughing gas and no, it doesn’t force you to laugh. Although we can’t guarantee that a giggle or two won’t escape from your mouth. 

What nitrous oxide does do, is that it puts you in a relaxed state by producing pleasant emotions in you. The gas is usually colourless, odourless and doesn’t cause irritations.

Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep so you’re conscious during the procedure. It’s also very safe and effective because it relaxes your nervous system quickly and wears off quickly.

Laughing gas is recommended if you are anxious about going to the dentist or have overly sensitive teeth. It’s also recommended if you’re in for a long dental procedure. 

It’s even safe for children and it will help them go through dental procedures easily. Especially when they are required to hold still and not squirm. They may feel tingly or warm but it is perfectly normal.

Side Effects of Dental Nitrous Oxide

Generally, dental nitrous oxide is safe however there may be side effects in some cases.

This may occur if the levels of nitrous oxide rise too high or the amount inhaled changes too quickly. 

Some possible side effects a patient may experience are:

  • Nauseousness or vomiting,
  • Headaches,
  • Excessive sweating or shaking,
  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue.

To avoid complications, you should inform your dentist if you have any condition that may affect the use of sedation on you.

Some of these conditions are:

  • You have a history of respiratory illnesses
  • You’re in the first trimester of pregnancy
  • You have a vitamin B 12 deficiency
  • You have a poor mental health history or a history of drug abuse.

The presence of any of these conditions or other unfavourable conditions will make nitrous oxide unsafe for you.

Procedures For Dental Sedation

Before coming for a dental procedure, you should speak with your dentists to know what sedation options are available, and to know which is best for you.

Your dentist will go over your medical history and whatever else to determine whether or not you are suitable for sedation.

Also, you should ask how qualified your dentist is to carry out a sedation procedure. This will help you be more confident and relax further about the procedure.

If you’re down IV sedation, you should avoid eating 6-8 hours before a dental procedure. You should also wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, and go without jewellery.

You are also advised to take someone else with you in case you can’t drive after the procedure. With some types of sedation like deep sedation or IV sedation, you will likely be unable to go home yourself. So you’ll need an escort. However, with nitrous oxide, you can go home yourself.

Generally, it never hurts to have someone go with you.

Knight Street Dentists Offers Dental Sedation

So if you’re someone who has a real fear of going to the dentist, has intense gag reflexes, or a low pain threshold, then being put to sleep by your dentist is your best bet.

Thankfully, at Knight Street Dentists, we are here to relieve your fears and debunk the myth about the dentist’s chair. Not only are we super friendly, warm, and welcoming, but we also offer conscious sedation dental services.

This is because we care about giving our patients the best and most pain-free dental experience ever. The procedure is safe and we’ll have you back on your feet and ready to drive home in 10 minutes!

So if you are excited about an anxiety-free dental treatment, we are your go-to dentists in Shepparton, Australia. Contact us today!

Let’s book you in and get you smiling again

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