Does going to the dentist make you nervous? Do you feel sweaty or clammy — maybe even have heart palpitations — the moment you sit back in the dental chair? Or perhaps you need to have major dental work done like extractions and implants but don’t like the idea of being aware of what’s going on around you while the dentist pushes and pulls at your pearly whites.
All of these examples are just a few of the situations when you might want to consider sedation dentistry at Summit Dental Center.
But even if you don’t have major dental phobia and just want something to keep you comfortable, there’s a type of sedation dentistry that’s right for you.
First, Talk to Our Houston Sedation Dentists
The quickest way to find out which type of dental sedation you should opt for is by talking to one of the dentists at Summit Dental Center about what you’re looking for and the expectations you’re hoping to achieve. For instance, maybe you just want to take the edge off while being fully conscious, or you would rather to be “knocked out” completely and not have a clue as to what’s going on in the background.
From here, we’ll also go through your medical and health history to make sure you’re a candidate for particular types of sedation. Then we’ll present your options to you for consideration, allowing you to take the lead when it comes to determining the one that’s the best fit.
Generally, these will fall into one of the following types of dental sedation (from minimal to complete):
Nitrous Oxide (Traditional “Laughing Gas”)
Most people are familiar with “laughing gas” as it’s a safe and mild type of dental sedative that’s been used in dentistry for several decades. Laughing gas uses nitrous oxide that’s combined with pure oxygen and breathed in through the nose, creating an analgesic effect to lessen sensitivity and ease the mood of the patient. While you’ll still feel what’s going on, nitrous oxide tends to make you feel more lighthearted and carefree about the procedure you’re about to undergo.
Nitrous takes only a few minutes to be fully effective and is quickly reversible with no lingering side effects. It’s the only type of sedation that allows you to drive yourself home afterward!
All types of dental sedation are also paired with a local anesthetic (numbing agent) to ensure your comfort at all times. A local anesthetic is essential to maintaining complete pain relief in the area being treated, even if you’re already feeling sleepy or in a state of unconsciousness from a sedative. However, we administer the local anesthetic after the sedative has taken effect, making the small injection that much more comfortable!
Oral Conscious Sedation
Conscious sedation is one of the most common types of sedation dentistry we offer in the Summit Dental Center Houston offices. This safe and predictable method is appropriate for patients of all ages, from children to adults. It works by using specific prescription medication(s) taken by mouth about 30-60 minutes before your treatment is scheduled to start.
You’ll take the medication at home or when you arrive in our office, and then relax as it starts to “kick in” and make you feel drowsy. While you’ll still be semi-conscious and able to respond to simple questions, there’s a good chance that you will likely not remember much — if anything — about the actual procedure. Oral sedatives tend to have an amnesic affect that makes it so that little is remembered once the appointment is over.
IV Sedation / Twilight Dentistry
With IV sedation, we can achieve a deeper and more controlled level of dental sedation than with orally administered medication. IV sedation is administered by one of our certified Houston sedation dentists via an intravenous line, allowing the safe delivery of medication. The sedative enters your bloodstream immediately and is turned off as soon as the procedure is completed. This makes it possible to provide the perfect length of relief for a shorter or longer procedure as needed, rather than being restricted to a limited window of time for the procedure to be completed.
Although IV sedation allows you to “wake up” when it’s discontinued, you’ll continue to be groggy as the medication wears off completely. As a result, it’s important to have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to the visit and drive you home afterward.
IV sedation is ideal for anyone with severe anxiety or patients who need to undergo more moderate to complex dental procedures, such as wisdom tooth surgery, same-day crowns or implants, or full mouth reconstruction cases where multiple procedures are being completed in one visit.
Under certain circumstances, we may need to provide deep level anesthesia for complex cases or situations involving particular medical/special needs. For example: if a child is suffering from severe dental abscesses that are posing a life-threatening condition, but they have medical or behavioral concerns that prevent them from receiving care, or are medically fragile.
Who is Overseeing My Sedation?
At Summit Dental Center we offer a full range of sedation options administered by trained and licensed practitioners. Their experience in sedation dentistry ensures the safety of your procedure at all times. Each of our sedation dentists and staff complete approved courses such as those through DOCS sedation, that meet and exceed state licensing requirements prior to even offering the service to our patients.
If you’re considering having sedation during your next dental treatment, we encourage you to schedule a consultation to talk through your options and learn about the types of sedation you qualify for. We’re happy to assist you!