What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is the practice of safely using medication to keep you relaxed and calm during a dental procedure. The primary purpose of sedation is to eliminate the fears that may stop you from getting the oral healthcare you need.
Under sedation, dental procedures become less stressful and it becomes easier for Dr. Nishime to operate for extended periods of time. In some cases, patients who undergo sedation don’t even remember the procedure.
Your Sedation Dentistry Options
Dr. Nishime offers three different levels of sedation dentistry:
Nitrous Oxide Inhalation Sedation (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is one of the most common kinds of dental sedation available. Nitrous oxide takes the form of a colorless, non-flammable gas that you inhale before the procedure.
Common effects of nitrous oxide inhalation include a feeling of dissociation alongside an anesthetizing effect that eliminates pain. Nitrous oxide is also known to create feelings of giddiness and euphoria, hence the nickname.
Nitrous oxide may be a good sedation option for you if:
- You’re scared of needles
- You’re resistant to oral and IV sedation
- You want fast acting sedation that wears off quickly
Oral sedation comes in the form of a pill that you’ll ingest one hour before your surgery. You may have an anesthetic prescribed that you’ll take alongside your sedative, or have your anesthetic applied at Dr. Nishime’s office. Once an hour has passed, you’ll be ready for surgery.
Oral sedation doesn’t put you under, but it may make you drowsy and even cause you to fall asleep. While oral sedation is simple and generally safe, not everyone is likely to respond to it the same.
You may be a good candidate for oral sedation if:
- You’re resistant to nitrous oxide and IV sedation
- You want to be sedated but not fully unconscious
- You’re scared of needles
- You don’t like laughing gas
- You have a ride home
Intravenous Sedation (IV)
Intravenous or IV sedation, involves having the prescribed substance injected directly into your veins at the dentist’s office. Dr. Nishime uses Midazolam for this method, a drug which induces drowsiness and makes you less aware of your surroundings.
Midazolam won’t fully put you to sleep, and your reflexes will remain intact, but it will make you unlikely to remember the procedure once it’s done. Intravenous sedation is not anesthesia, so we’ll administer a local anesthetic as required.
You may be a good candidate for intravenous sedation if:
- You’re resistant to oral and nitrous oxide sedation
- You have a ride home
- You dislike pills and laughing gas
- You want to stay conscious during your procedure
Sometimes, these forms of sedation are not enough. When the deepest level of sedation is required, we use the services of an MD anesthesiologist to provide general anesthesia. General anesthesia involves using a combination of inhaled and injected controlled substances to eliminate your sense of awareness during your procedure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sedation dentistry might be necessary if you experience crippling anxiety about going to the doctor, and as a result, can’t get the care you need. Dr. Nishime might also recommend sedation if the work you’re set to get will take more than three hours. This ensures that your muscles don’t spasm and that your jaw doesn’t tire.
- The effects of laughing gas usually begin within minutes of application and tend to end soon after the stream of gas is stopped.
- Oral sedation takes an average hour to start working and can last anywhere from two to eight hours.
- IV sedation usually takes effect within minutes and can last for an average six hours.
- As for general anesthesia, your body may take a full day to two days before it completely metabolizes the substances.
These timeframes can also vary based on factors such as your body’s unique physiology and even the environment you receive the sedation/anesthetic in. For these reasons, Dr. Nishime will be sure to review your medical history with you during your consultation. He’ll look for information and ask about factors that may affect sedation and anesthesia success such as:
- Current medications
- Existing allergies
- Drug addiction and resistance
- Family and personal history of sedation reaction
Modern dental technology has allowed for the development of safer, more effective means of administering sedation and general anesthesia. To ensure your safety, these procedures should only be carried out by trained professionals like Dr. Nishime and his team, who will review your medical history beforehand and ask you questions about your overall health and dental anxieties. This information will help Dr. Nishime choose the sedation method that is safest and most effective for you.
Sedation Dentistry Erases Dental Fears and Aids Oral Health
It’s common and understandable for you to experience fear about visiting the dentist. Rest assured, Dr. Nishime and his team want you to feel comfortable and safe during your visit and sedation dentistry options can help erase any anxiety you may be feeling.
Now is the time to stop letting fear endanger your oral and overall health. To learn more about the benefits of sedation dentistry, or to schedule an appointment at our Honolulu office, call us at (808) 732-0291 or click the button below to schedule an appointment.