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While dentistry has evolved in precise and pain-free practice, many still find it stressful, intimidating and nerve-racking. Although local anesthesia is used during most dental and surgical procedures, many treatments can be provided with added comfort. In a dental office, physical and emotions senses are heightened with the anxieties from the local anesthesia injection, hyper gag reflex or the length and complexity of the treatment. Now, our patients have more options and freedom with dental sedation and anesthesia.

What is Sedation and Anesthesia?

Dental sedation is a semi-conscious state that results in reduced anxiety, pain awareness, and recall. Sedative mediations, such as Valium, are administered to create a relaxed environment during the dental treatment.

How is the Medication Administered?

The sedative and anesthetic medications are typically given intravenously (IV). Since the effects are so smooth and rapid via this means of administration, doctors can precisely administer and adjust the correct amounts of the medication so that you are relaxed and comfortable. Also, if additional medication or adjuncts are necessary during and for the dental treatment, the IV allows easy administration of these medications.

How am I Monitored During the Treatment?

Depending upon the depth of sedation and your condition, various state-of–the-art monitors are used. These include the automatic blood pressure cuff, ECG, precordial stethoscope and pulse-oximeter. The pulse-oximeter measures the oxygen concentration in your blood through a light sensor. Sometimes a capnograph may be used as well to measure your carbon dioxide levels. We always closely monitor you during the procedure and recovery period.

Pre-Operative Instructions

  • Make arrangements for a responsible adult to pick you up after your procedure and remain with you for 24-hours.
  • Stop eating solid foods 8-hours prior to your appointment. (If you have a late appointment dry toast or a bagel is preferable for breakfast)
  • Stop clear liquids 4-hours prior to your appointments. Milk and citrus drinks are not recommended 8-hours prior to treatment.
  • Morning medications and preparation medication (i.e. pre-medication with antibiotic) should be taken with a small sip of water.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70 percent oxygen with no less than 30 percent nitrous oxide. It is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which is inhaled. The patient is able to breathe on his or her own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide:

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a "hangover".
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly reaching the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as two to three minutes, it’s relaxation and pain-killing properties develop.

Reasons Not To Use Nitrous Oxide

Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, chest problems, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your dentist for a five-minute trial to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.

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Your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. Occasionally, treatment can be performed the same day as the consultation.......

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