More than half of Americans delay seeking dental care due to anxiety. Delay in dental care may be the difference between a small filling and a root canal or extraction. The need for sedation dentistry to reduce anxiety is undeniable. We offer three forms of sedation dentistry: oral, nitrous oxide, and IV sedation. Each offers a different level of sedation and relaxation.
Oral sedation is a prescription tablet that you take at home before coming to your dental appointment. Most commonly we prescribe Halcion, a sedative. This medication causes drowsiness and amnesia. When you take Halcion you must have someone else drive you to your appointment and drive you home afterwards. Patients who have taken Halcion report feeling relaxed or forgetting parts of their appointment. While some patients sleep through their appointment others will be comfortably relaxed. The medication will wear off within one to two hours after your appointment.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, causes mild anesthesia and reduces anxiety. It is always combined with 30% or more of O2 to ensure safe oxygenation. Patients report feeling heavy or relaxed and sounds seeming muffled. At the end of the appointment nitrous oxide quickly leaves the lungs while the 100% oxygen is given, before you leave the dental chair.
Intravenous sedation is the most effective form of sedation. Medications are given with sterile water into a vein and have rapid effect. Patients report feeling that just a few minutes have passed and being surprised that the appointment is already over. You will need someone else to drive you home. Medications wear off in about an hour, though it is recommended not to drive or to operate a hazardous device for 24 hours afterward.
Dr. Morris completed his IV sedation training at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is certified by the state of Colorado to perform sedation.
Different sedation options may be used in combination. You may be prescribed oral sedation before coming to the office, then also receive nitrous or IV sedation once you arrive. The purpose of sedation is to eliminate fear or anxiety about dental treatment. It is a comfortable way to get dental treatment done.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I’m sedated will my mouth also be numb?
Yes. We still use local anesthetic to ensure your comfort during the appointment. Many patients report not being aware of when anesthetic was given because the sedation had already taken effect.
Will I be asleep?
Everyone responds differently to sedation medications. Some patients sleep while others remain conscious and relaxed. You will be given enough medication to ensure your comfort: anxiety will be gone, and you will have amnesia about some or all of your appointment. While sedated you will be able to talk to your dentist and answer questions, though you may not remember this.