What Other Sedation Options Are Available

Besides IV sedation and nitrous oxide, what other methods for sedating a dental patient are in common use today? What would be a good option for someone who isn’t going to be in the dentist’s chair for a long time, or for someone who doesn’t have to worry about anxiety concerning dental procedures?

What Are Other Sedation Options?

IV sedation and nitrous oxide aren’t the only options for you if you’re looking for sedation when you’re going to undergo a dental procedure. There are a number of other options that you can consider if you’re looking for a way to get through the procedure without being in pain or anxious.

The most common method of numbing the pain in dental procedures is localized anesthesia. This is what the dentist will do if you just need a filling for a cavity, or something similar. It is quite a simple process, that really only needs a few steps; namely, identifying the area for the procedure, and then utilizing a compound (like Novocain), via injection into the area, to make the procedure much less painful. The only downside of this sedation option is that your face will feel strange for a while, until the Novocain subsides, like it is unusually puffy. However, this is only good for small procedures, and its usefulness lessens when you move on to bigger procedures.

For larger procedures, your dentist will combine the use of a local anesthetic (such as Novocain) with the use of a sedative, something to keep the patient calm during the procedure. Here are just a few other sedation options.

Oral Sedation

Another common method for sedating the patient before a procedure is oral sedation. Unlike nitrous oxide or similar compounds, this simply requires that the patient take a pill, often something in the same family of medications as Valium. The patient takes the pill an hour before the procedure, which gives it plenty of time to kick in. The pill will make you feel a bit more at ease, and may even cause some moderate grogginess. In larger doses, the pill may even make you so groggy that you can fall asleep during the procedure.

Moderate/Deep Sedation

When you and your dentist turn to IV sedation for your procedure, the reason is to achieve a moderate or deep sedation. However, the impact of the two on your state of consciousness is a bit different.

In moderate sedation, you may be awake. Your speaking will likely show signs of slurring, and your memory of the procedure will be minimal. The IV will keep the sedative in your system during the procedure, and it will wear off in the hours or day after.

In deep sedation, you are conscious, but just barely. You may be able to react to commands, but you’ll be in a ‘twilight’ sleep, barely awake.

In general anesthesia, you’re asleep. You are unresponsive to verbal commands, and will sleep through almost anything.

These are a few of the kinds of sedation available to you if you need to have dental work under sedation. As always, the best way to choose the right sedation for you is to work with your local professional sedation dentist.

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