Many people experience anxiety when visiting the dental office.  Some people avoid the dental office and dental treatments completely due to their anxiety.  Sedation dentistry helps make dental visits possible.

Sedation dentistry is the use of medications (oral or IV) to decrease a patient’s anxiety by decreasing their awareness of their environment and allows them to rest and relax during their dental visit.  There are many types of dental sedation available that allow patients to be comfortable during their dental appointment!

Here is a short summary of the options available:

  1. Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is a commonly used medication in the dental office. The patient inhales nitrous oxide gas mixed with oxygen.  The patient breathes the mixture in through a nosepiece while the dentist does the required dental work.  The patient feels relaxed during the procedure.  The effects of the nitrous oxide wear off quickly, allowing the patient to return to work/school as soon as the gas is discontinued.  This option is great for children and for adults that just need “the edge” taken off of their anxiety.  The patient is monitored for breathing and relaxation during their appointment.
  2. Oral sedation: Oral sedation is the use of oral medications to achieve a level of comfort and is a way to manage anxiety.  The patient experiences a deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide gas.  However, the effects of the oral medications last for several hours and requires the patient to have a responsible adult to drive them to/from their dental appointment(s) and to stay with them until the effects of the medications wear off.  The patient is awake but sleepy during their dental appointment.  The patient is monitored for oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure during the appointment.  The patient breathes on their own and can respond normally to questions and commands.  This option of sedation dentistry is ideal for patients that are anxious but need shorter appointments.
  3. IV sedation: IV sedation is a deeper form of sedation than nitrous oxide or oral sedation.  The patient usually takes an oral medication prior to entering the dental office.  A responsible adult drives the patient and from their dental appointment(s).  An IV is placed and the patient is given medications to allow the patient to experience a deeper relaxation.  The patient still breathes on their own, responds to questions and commands but is sleepier.  Many times, the patient does not remember the visit to the dental office.  This option of sedation dentistry is used for very anxious patients or patients that require long appointments to complete their dental work.

Our office provides nitrous oxide, oral sedation and IV sedation.  For pediatric patients (children), we coordinate with a nurse anesthetist to provide sedation medications and to monitor the patients.  For adults, Dr. Goodwin is certified to provide oral and IV sedation. 

Many patient want to be “completely out” for their dental work.  This type of sedation is considered general sedation.  General sedation is NOT provided in our office.   General sedation requires the placement of a breathing tube into a patient’s lungs and a highly monitored patient environment.  With this type of sedation, the patient is NOT responsive and does not breathe on their own.  General sedation is done in a hospital setting.

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation to determine which type of sedation dentistry is right for you!

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