Sedation dentistry, also known as conscious sedation, is a method of dental treatment that helps patients relax and feel comfortable during dental procedures. This type of dentistry is particularly useful for people who experience anxiety or fear when it comes to visiting the dentist. It is also ideal for patients who need to undergo lengthy or complex dental procedures, such as root canal therapy, extractions, implants, or many restorations.

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medications, either oral or intravenous, to help a patient relax and remain calm throughout the dental procedure. Nitrous Oxide (Laughing gas) can also be used in addition to medications, or used on its own for light sedation purposes. The aim of sedation is to provide a stress-free and comfortable experience for the patient, while allowing the dentist to complete the procedure effectively and efficiently.

How do I find out if Sedation Dentistry is right for me?

First, a consultation. Before the procedure, you will have a consultation with the dentist to discuss your dental needs and concerns. The dentist will also assess your medical history, your physical status, and any current medications you are taking. This information will help the dentist determine a sedation strategy that best suits your needs. This will be discussed in detail with you and a plan will be made with your approval.

What are the types of sedation?

Sedation can be broadly categorized as either minimal, moderate, or deep.  Deep sedation is reserved for hospital or surgical facilities where an anesthesiologist physician is dedicated to your sedation and does not participate in the dental or surgical procedure.

Minimal and moderate sedation dentistry can be performed by a specially trained and certified dentist, along with qualified sedation team members. This is also referred to as conscious sedation, whereby you will be responsive to light stimulation. There are several types of conscious sedation, including oral sedation (pill form), intravenous (IV) sedation, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation. The type of sedation you receive will depend on your individual needs and the complexity of the procedure you are having done.

Oral sedation involves taking a pill prior to the procedure. The pill will help you relax and feel calm during the procedure. You may even sleep for some or all of the appointment

IV sedation involves administering the medication directly into the bloodstream through an IV. This method provides a quicker and more controlled level of sedation when moderate sedation is desired.

Nitrous oxide sedation involves inhaling a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask. This type of sedation provides a minimal level of sedation and is often used for shorter procedures. This method is commonly used for children.

How do I prepare for a sedation appointment?

Before the procedure, your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to prepare. For example, you may be asked to fast for several hours prior to the procedure. If you are receiving oral or IV sedation, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.  You may be asked to wear comfortable loose clothing so that an IV line and a blood pressure cuff can be placed easily.

What happens during the procedure?

During the procedure, you will be monitored by a trained professional to ensure your safety and comfort. You will be relaxed and comfortable and you may even sleep for some or all of the procedure. You will still be responsive to the team’s instructions. With oral or IV sedation, you may not remember much of the procedure, or not remember it at all.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure, you may feel groggy and tired for several hours if an oral or IV sedation is used, but you will be able to walk, possibly with some assistance. You will need to have a trusted friend or family member take you home and attend and monitor you for the rest of the day.

After minimal sedation with nitrous oxide the sedative effects wear off within minutes and you can drive home shortly after your appointment is complete.

Are there any side effects?

Sedation dentistry is generally safe and effective, but there are some potential side effects to be aware of. These may include nausea, dizziness, headache, and dry mouth. These side effects are rare, typically mild, and go away on their own within a few hours.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Yes, but it is not for everyone.  Patients that are severely medically compromised, too over-weight, or have allergies to the sedatives, are not candidates for sedation dentistry. Your sedation dentist will screen you to ensure that it’s safe for you.

It is important to note that not every dentist is trained and licensed to perform sedation dentistry. Your dentist and dental team must be adequately trained with formal qualifying sedation education, and they are required to follow the Standards of Practice as established by the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta. Your dentist will also be trained in advanced life support measures in the unlikely event of a medical emergency.

Overall, sedation dentistry is a safe and effective option for many patients. By providing a stress-free and comfortable experience, patients can receive the dental care they need without feeling anxious or fearful.

Have more questions? Get in touch with the experienced sedation dental team at South Central Dentistry today! We are conveniently located in South Edmonton on Gateway Boulevard near Whitemud Freeway.