If you are anxious about a visit to the dentist, please know that you are not alone. At Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry, we know that many people can be helped with anti-anxiety medication and/or sedation to handle their needed dental treatments.
Traditionally, laughing gas was often used in dental offices. However, these days it’s more common to use conscious sedation, sometimes called “twilight” sedation. There are two kinds of conscious sedation – oral and IV.
Oral conscious sedation dentistry is more common, and many dentists are only qualified to offer this type of conscious sedation. There are several different medications can be used. Some are swallowed and others are sub-lingual – meaning you hold the pill under your tongue until it dissolves. The latter tend to take effect more quickly.
Oral sedatives do not take effect immediately, but can work in a matter of minutes. In fact, some dentists also recommend taking one the night before to help avoid anxiety-induced insomnia. Some oral sedatives are longer-lasting and may be taken the night before as a matter of routine. Some people may fall asleep in the middle of procedures when under oral sedation.
IV conscious sedation dentistry often results in a lack of awareness for patients, and it’s not uncommon for them not to remember the procedure at all. It is often recommended for complicated procedures. Another advantage is that the dentist can adjust the level of sedation quickly, if needed, through the IV – which can be important as people react differently to sedative drugs.
This means IV conscious sedation is more predictable, and you’re less likely to “wake up” in the middle of a procedure. However, it is more expensive and complicated, and many patients also require oxygen while under this kind of sedation. Also, it can be anxiety-inducing if you’re afraid of needles. The IV drugs also include pain relief medicine. With oral sedatives, you will also need a local anesthetic for pain relief.
At Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry, we are qualified and experienced in using both types of conscious sedation. Whichever form is used, it’s worth remembering that everyone responds to these drugs differently. You should not drive yourself home after your appointment, so it is recommended that you bring a companion to drive you home.
We have medication on hand that can reverse the sedation effects if necessary. It is common, especially for oral sedatives, to feel after effects for the rest of the day – so you should consider taking the rest of the day off work and scheduling your appointment accordingly. Because these drugs can make you randomly fall asleep, we recommend not being alone for two to four hours after the procedure.
If you are interested in learning more about how sedation dentistry can help you or a loved one, please contact our office today!