What is Sedation Dentistry?
There are four types of dental sedation, each inducing a different level of relaxation. During your first consultation, our team will carefully assess which sedation dentistry approach will make you most comfortable.
IV Unconscious Sedation
IV unconscious sedation usually uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses (anesthetics).
Unconscious sedation is more than just being asleep – the anesthetized brain does not respond to pain signals or reflexes.
Children and individual with cognitive disorders are more commonly treated with general anesthesia.
This type of sedation is administered by highly specialized dental anesthesiologist or medical anesthesiologist under a carefully controlled environment. Patients must be accompanied home by an adult.
IV Conscious Sedation
IV conscious sedation is a very powerful and effective sedation technique available to general dental practices. A sedation dentist will introduce intravenous drugs into the blood stream to help patients relax and adopt a carefree attitude, even when faced with situations that would normally be quite stressful. Because they are so deeply relaxed, many patients end up falling asleep during their dental appointments!
IV sedation provides anti-anxiety sedatives that allow patients that are either anxious when it comes to dentistry, have a severe gag reflex or have unusual reactions to traditional local anaesthetics to receive necessary dental care and maintain better oral health.
IV sedation allows the sedation dentist to administer local anaesthetic and proceed with a normal course of treatment without having the patient experience any emotional or physical distress.
It is not uncommon for patients to have complete or partial memory loss for the period of time immediately after the intravenous drugs take effect, right until the end of the appointment.
It is important to note that patients that are undergoing IV sedation are required to have a travel companion to help ensure that they get home safely.
Due to the nature of the intravenous drugs that are used, dentists wanting to provide sleep dentistry must undergo a rigorous training regimen to become certified. Once certified, the sanctioning body (RCDSO) closely regulates their practitioners to ensure that patient care always remains the primary focus. A medical anesthesiologist is also available to administer this type of sedation.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is used with patients that suffer from mild anxiety when attending their regular dental appointments. Traditionally, a single prescription of the oral sedative is prescribed and patients will take the pill a half an hour before their scheduled appointment.
It is a great option for most patients suffering from a mild form of anxiety. As with IV sedation, we insist that all of our patients receiving oral conscious sedation treatment be accompanied by a travel companion to ensure safe travel to and from the office.
Laughing Gas Sedation
Light sedation uses laughing gas to induce a euphoric feeling in patients during their treatment. Laughing gas can also act as a “pain killer” for soft tissues such as the gums which makes it particularly effective for appointments targeting periodontal hygiene.
Unlike oral sedation, the effects of laughing gas can be slightly adjusted throughout the appointment to adjust for changing needs and no injections are needed to administer the laughing gas.
Finally, unlike the other two forms of conscious sedation, there are no lingering effects after the use of laughing gas. People can drive home minutes after their appointment and are thus not reliant upon others for help getting home.
Although an effective option for many, laughing gas sedation does not work for everyone. Some people simply cannot achieve the level of comfort needed in order to be able to proceed with a regular course of treatment.
What is IV Sedation?
In a general dental practice, IV (Intravenous) sedation is the most powerful and effective conscious sedation technique available. IV Sedation is sedation administered directly into the bloodstream and is highly effective.
IV Sedation is highly effective for people who have much more significant challenges around dentistry and oral health. Sedation dentistry offers options for:
- People that are nervous or anxious at the thought of a traditional dental appointment
- People with a severe dental fear or anxiety
- People that have an acute or severe gag reflex
- People that have had difficulty becoming fully anaesthetized with traditional local anaesthetics
- People that have a limited ability to open their jaw
- People that require significant amount of work in as little visits as possible
This method of sedation simply instills a feeling of deep relaxation and creates a dream-like state and a care-free disposition. With this level, patients typically go through the entire procedure without remembering it. It’s the peace of mind that patients have knowing their experience will be completely relaxed and feel like they are asleep while receiving the highest dental care has coined the term “sleep dentistry”.