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Sedation / Sleep Dentistry

This four-part article series provides an in-depth overview of sedation dentistry, what it is, how it works, the benefits it offers and what patients can expect from its different methods of administration.

Welcome to the third installment of this four-part article series on sedation dentistry and the various aspects that patients want and need to know about this essential branch of dental healthcare. Previously, in Part 2, Drs. Rogers & Bull explained the many wonderful benefits of sedation, which extend well past the simple act of calming nervous and fearful patients. It also eliminates pain and calms strong gag reflexes, while enabling dentists to perform longer and more complex procedures in a single appointment, rather than breaking it down into smaller and more manageable phases.

Now, let’s take a look at the three primary modes of sedation administration, the procedures involved and what patients can expect.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation simply involves swallowing one or two small pills, depending upon the recommendations of the Colorado Springs dentist. You will be required to arrive for your appointment an hour beforehand and the procedure and sedation will be explained to you in full again.

Once you have taken your pill, you will be left to sit back and relax while the effects kick in. By the time it’s your turn for an appointment, you should be feeling completely relaxed, comfortable and anxiety-free. While you are receiving treatment – even if it’s just a standard dental examination – the dentist will ensure that you’re comfortable and will also closely monitor your heart rate and blood pressure.

“Towards the end of your appointment, you may begin to become more conscious of what’s going on as the sedation effects of the pill wears off,” says a Colorado Springs implant dentist. “You’ll likely feel quite sleepy and won’t remember much from your procedure. Please do make sure to arrange transportation from your dental office to your home, because you won’t be fit for driving whilst under the effects of sedation, even though it’s wearing off.”

Nitrous Oxide or Inhalation Sedation

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The administration of sedative medications – usually Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas” - via an oxygen mask is a popular method of sedation, especially for kids, nervous patients and for those with a strong gag reflex. Inhalation is suitable for patients between the ages of 5 to 95 years. The procedure, similar to oral conscious sedation, is really very simple:

“Upon arriving for your appointment, we’ll explain to you the entire procedure and what it is you can expect from your treatment,” says a Colorado Springs dental implant dentist. “We’ll also describe what you can expect to feel so that nothing takes you by surprise. Once you are comfortably in the dentist’s chair, we’ll put a small oxygen mask over your nose and mouth, but it won’t only be delivering oxygen to you. We use a mixture of oxygen and a gas called nitrous oxide, which makes you feel totally relaxed, spaced out and anxiety-free.

“Throughout treatment, we will periodically adjust your gas intake so that the calm, sedated state is maintained. In spite of this, you will still be able to respond to our questions and prompts, although you may slur your words! Once your treatment is complete, we’ll reduce the levels of nitrous oxide you’re breathing in until you’re left only with oxygen. We’ll then remove the mask and allow you some time to emerge from the fog of sedation.

“Once again, it’s important that you arrange for transportation home, because although you’ll feel a lot more awake after treatment, you still won’t be fit to drive yourself,” says the Colorado Springs dentist.

Stay Tuned for Part 4

To read more about sedation dentistry and what the final mode of administration entails – intravenous sedation - stay tuned for the final installment of this four-part article series.


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