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3 Effective Types of Dental Sedation

Posted by Lone Star Dental Care Aug 09, 2021

Dental sedation, sometimes called sedation dentistry, is designed to relax you so you can comfortably (and calmly) undergo dental treatments, including root canals, dental implants, or tooth extractions. Sedation dentistry, which is available here at Lone Star Dental Care in Frisco and Plano, Texas, can also benefit patients with dental phobia or dental anxiety.

Below, Dr. Afshin Vahadi and Dr. Vafa Mirshams shed light on the three types of dental sedation available in our offices.

Nitrous oxide

More commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide (N2O) is a mild sedative made from nitrogen and oxygen atoms. This gas is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask, providing relief from both pain and anxiety. You remain awake and will be able to hear and respond to questions. Many people report feeling relaxed or even “heavy” while breathing in laughing gas.

The effects of the laughing gas wear off quickly — shortly after the mask is removed. Breathing pure oxygen (without the nitrous oxide) can further help cleanse your lungs of any remaining nitrous oxide. You don’t need to rely on a family member or friend to drive you home after receiving this type of dental sedation.

Nitrous oxide is also safe and effective for children who need dental work.

Oral sedation

Unlike laughing gas, oral sedation is administered via the mouth. Oral sedation varies from minimal to moderate sedation depending on the dose you receive. 

Oral sedation is stronger than nitrous oxide, and because of this, the sedation effects can take longer to wear off. While moderate oral sedation isn’t intended to make you fall asleep, you may feel groggy enough that you do fall asleep during your procedure. If you need oral sedation, it should be planned in advance for two reasons:

  • You may need to take a pill at a certain time (e.g., one hour) before your procedure 
  • You will need a friend or family member to drive you home

Oral sedation is ideal for those who have a fear of needles but need a stronger sedative than laughing gas can provide.

Intravenous sedation

Intravenous sedation is often referred to as IV sedation. Of the three types of dental sedation, IV sedation is the strongest option. Medication is delivered directly into your bloodstream, and the effects work quickly. Even though IV sedation is the strongest of these three options, it’s still considered conscious sedation. You may feel deeply relaxed and drowsy, but you'll have the ability to react to stimulation.

IV sedation requires the most preparation. This includes:

  • Avoiding food or drink for 6-8 hours before your appointment 
  • Avoiding taking other medications (unless approved beforehand) 
  • Planning for a friend or family member to drive you home
  • Planning to rest and take it easy for the 24 hours following your appointment

Not all types of sedation are right for everyone, but you don’t have to make this decision alone. Dr. Vahadi and Dr. Mirshams review your overall health, your level of dental anxiety, and your personal preferences when exploring all of your sedation options with you. 

Who benefits from dental sedation?

Dental sedation may benefit both children and adults who:

  • Are nervous or apprehensive about upcoming dental procedures
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Require extensive and/or complex procedures

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from getting the care you need. To learn more about dental sedation, schedule an appointment online. You can also call our Frisco, Texas, office to make an appointment. 

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