What You Need to Know About Adult Sedation Dentistry

Posted on: August 16, 2018

Adult sedation dentistry is the modern way to deal with the pain or stress that patients may experience when visiting the dentist. While we do everything in our power to limit or eliminate pain, some patients will still feel a bit of fear toward any type of dental appointment. Fortunately, we have different types of sedation dentistry to help with multiple situations.

3 Types of adult sedation dentistry

The first type of sedation is known as nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which is the least invasive. Oral sedation is the second type and offers a deeper state of relaxation via pills the patient takes. Lastly, there is IV sedation.

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is what people typically see in movies when a dentist office is being represented. Laughing gas has a pleasant aroma and is a gas that patients inhale through an inhaler mask. All the patient has to do is breathe and the gas takes effect in under five minutes.

Nitrous oxide is typically administered to patients going under short dental procedures and is recommended for anyone with any level of anxiety. The best part of this sedation is the recovery, which is over within minutes after the dental treatment is completed, oxygen is administered to counterbalance the gas.

Oral sedation

The next option in the category of  Adult Sedation Dentistry is Oral Sedation. Oral sedation is a moderate form of sedation and is taken in a pill form.  Oral sedation relieves mild to moderate anxiety.

The most common drugs for oral sedation are Halcion, Ativan and Valium.  All three of these drugs are close in relation and create a lethargic stupor but does not induce complete sleep. This is the only method that allows the patient to drive themselves to and from the dentist appointment, all other sedation methods have more lingering effects.

IV sedation

The most invasive and deepest form of adult sedation dentistry is IV sedation.  IV sedation is the combination of pain relieving and sedation drugs that put the patient into a temporary sleeping state. Few dentists have the ability to do this/have received the proper training to administer the IV sedation.

Now with the oral sedation and the Nitrous Oxide sedation, IV sedation is not as necessary. Sedation alone does not eradicate the perception so that is why sedation is always used with a numbing agent.

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Adult sedation dentistry within dentistry is good for almost all of the issues adult patients have with going to the dentist. It calms those who have a  simple unexplained fear of visiting the dentist, or those who have had traumatic dental experiences. Adult Sedation Dentistry is also good for someone who has difficult dental issues or something as simple as a gagging problem.

There are some medical conditions that limit which method a patient can use.  Diabetes, liver and kidney diseases/ disorders, Thyroid and adrenal disorders, Pregnancy, and any Respiratory issues like –  sleep apnea, asthma, sickle cell disease, COPD and bronchitis. Also, make sure to inform the dentist of you use drugs recreationally because this could lead to miss calculating the proper dose via tolerance estimation or overdose.

For more information on sedation dentistry or to schedule an appointment with TrueSmiles, request an appointment in our Miami dental office here: https://truesmilesmiami.com. Or call us at (305) 203-4110.


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