Once a day in our practice someone tells us that they are scared of the dentist. Once a day someone cancels a new patient appointments because they are scared of the dentist. And once a day we use some type of sedation to help someone to not be scared of the dentist any more.
Dr. Hoang Truong is a gentle dentist but sometimes sedation helps the patient feel more at ease about the appointment. Sedation is a common way to get through a dental appointment and it comes in a few different forms: Inhalation sedation (nitrous oxide or laughing gas), oral sedation, and IV sedation.
3 Types of Sedation
1. Inhalation Sedation (Laughing Gas or Nitrous Oxide)
Nitrous Oxide can diminish pain and is a gas that has no odor, color, or smell that is delivered through a nose piece.Nitrous oxide was discovered in the 1700’s and was at one time the drug of choice for people. It was found however to deliver a case of the “giggles” and became known as “laughing gas.” Laughing gas provides a pleasurable feeling and a sense of euphoria.
Laughing gas can be administered on the day of your appointment without any precautions needing to be taken. Unlike other types of sedation techniques, with laughing gas you will not need to go without food or water for any period of time. This can definitely help those who are scared of the dentist relax while in the dental chair.
2. Oral Conscious Sedation
If you are scared of the dentist then the dentist can recommend oral conscious sedation for you to manage your anxiety. Your ability to feel pain is diminished and your memory of the appointment is minimal. This type of sedation is often (illegally) referred to as “sleep dentistry” because the patient is so comfortable during the appointment that they fall asleep.
A series of medications is taken by the patient the night before and the morning of the appointment. During the appointment more medication is given to the patient. They can feel “happy drunk” during this time. The dentist is able to perform work more quickly due to the cooperation of the patient.
3. IV Sedation
This type of sedation is what is given to any patients undergoing major surgery. Medications are administered through an IV in the arm. The patient is literally put to sleep. This allows doctors to perform surgeries so that there is no memory of the surgery as well as no pain is experienced during the procedure.
These are the main types of sedation that can be used to put you at ease during your next dental appointment. We aim to have open communication with our patients. We want patients to understand that these options are available to them and to not be afraid to ask to be sedated.