Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can change your life and your views on dentistry in a matter of a few hours. Imagine not being afraid to go to the dentist. Imagine being able to accomplish all of your care in as little as one appointment. This is what sedation dentistry can do for you.

We offer two levels of sedation at Broad Park Family Dentistry. The first and lower level of sedation is nitrous oxide or as it is more commonly known, "laughing gas." The second and deeper level of sedation we perform is enteral sedation, also known as oral sedation.

Most patients feel no discomfort whatsoever and after treatment you will have little or no memory of your visit. You can give yourself or a member of your family the gift of great dental health by calling to schedule your oral sedation consultation today.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years and is very safe. This sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas is used in roughly one third of dental practices in the United States, especially to allay anxiety that many patients may have toward dental treatment. It also offers a slight degree of painkilling ability. The gas is administered with a comfortable mask placed over the nose, and the patient is instructed to breathe through their nose. The patient begins to feel a pleasant level of sedation in anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes.

After the gas is adjusted to the appropriate dose, and the patient is relaxed and sedated, the dentist can comfortably give the anesthetic injection (if needed) to the patient, and then proceed with dental treatment. After the treatment is completed, the patient is given pure oxygen to breathe for about ten minutes, and the effects of the sedation are quickly reversed. Unlike IV sedation or general anesthesia, the patient can leave the office by themselves, without an escort.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide:

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation
  • There are no "hangover" after effects
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging
  • and It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide. You may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold with nasal congestion, or other difficulties with breathing. You may want to ask your dentist for a "5 minute trial" to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.

Enteral Sedation (Oral Sedation)

Oral sedation is a deeper level of sedation than that achieved by the use of nitrous oxide gas alone. This type of sedation is used for our most anxious patients. Oral sedation is administered by taking a pill that helps the patient experience a state of very deep relaxation. It can also be used safely with or without nitrous oxide gas.

During orally administered sedation, all body functions remain normal and the patient is able to breathe naturally on their own. The patient will often fall asleep during the dental appointment and usually has some degree of amnesia following the completion of treatment. Unlike nitrous oxide sedation, the patient must be accompanied by an adult prior to, during, and following the appointment.

Advantages to Enteral (Oral) Sedation:

  • Easy to administer by swallowing a small pill
  • It is safe and easy to monitor
  • Works well for people with dental anxiety
  • Low cost compared to IV sedation or general anesthesia

Disadvantages to Enteral (Oral) Sedation:

  • The level of sedation is not easily changed The patient must be driven to and from appointment by an adult The sedation effect lingers following the dental appointment