Manage Anxiety & Discomfort During Dental Appointments

sedation dentistry in vaConscious Sedation is defined as a minimally depressed level of consciousness produced by pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological methods where the patient retains the ability to independently and continuously maintain an airway while also being able to respond appropriately to physical stimulation and verbal command.

Sedation Dentistry, sometimes called Relaxation Dentistry or Sleep Dentistry, refers to the way a Dentist manages anxiety and discomfort during dental appointments. Sedation Dentistry is very different from General Anesthesia where a patient is completely unconscious; asleep and unable to respond. Patients under Conscious Sedation are able to respond to commands and breathe on their own.

At Marshall Dental, we utilize two forms of sedation…Conscious Oral Sedation and Conscious Inhalation Sedation.

Conscious Oral Sedation

The oral medications used for Conscious Oral Sedation in dentistry are from a group of drugs known as Benzodiazapines. Not only do these medications have a sedative effect, they also have some degree of amnesic effect for most people. Patients remember very little or nothing about their dental appointment.

Advantages of Conscious Oral Sedation for Dentistry:

  • Easy to administer…you swallow a small pill
  • Safe and easy to monitor
  • Works well for most people
  • Low cost

Disadvantages of Conscious Oral Sedation for Dentistry:

  • The level of sedation is not easily changed
  • Someone must drive you to and from your dental appointment
  • There is no analgesic (pain relief effect)

What medications are used for Conscious Oral Sedation?

The most common medication is Triazolam. Triazolam provides a deep level of relaxation and amnesia effect.

Who Should Consider Conscious Oral Sedation?

You may benefit from Conscious Oral Sedation if you experience a lot of stress, fear and/or anxiety when you consider going to the Dentist. Because so many people have troubles associated with going to the Dentist, we would like to help make your appointments peaceful and comfortable.

If you require a lot of dental care, you should consider the use of Conscious Oral Sedation. With Conscious Oral Sedation, you can relax and have longer appointments, resulting in fewer trips to the dental office.
Previous bad dental experiences cause fear and anxiety about Dentists and Dentistry. If these feelings are preventing you from pursuing the Dentistry you need, Conscious Oral Sedation can help you get past the bad feelings and move on to a Fear-Free experience with the Dentist.
A few of the problems that some people have associated with dental visits; such as fear of shots and needles, difficulty getting numb or have a bad gag reflex; are helped by Conscious Oral Sedation.

If you exhibit any of the following characteristics, Conscious Oral Sedation may help you:

  • Stress, Fear and/or Anxiety associated with going to the Dentist
  • Fear of shots or needles
  • Hard to get numb
  • Dental Phobia
  • History of bad dental experiences
  • Painful or sensitive teeth
  • Troubled with a bad gag reflex

How Conscious Oral Sedation Works

You will be prescribed an oral medication to be taken one (1) hour prior to your scheduled dental visit. It is imperative that you arrange to have a companion drive you to and from your dental appointment. When you arrive at our Dental Office, you will be awake, but feel drowsy and relaxed.
You will be escorted to the dental treatment room and seated as you arrive. You will be placed on a monitor to observe your vital signs throughout the entire procedure.
It is our desire that you are entirely relaxed and comfortable during the treatment process. We will take extra measures to provide you with a peaceful appointment with soothing music, a warm cover and a shield to lessen the brightness of the room lights. If there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable, please do not hesitate to ask.

The oral sedatives do not have any analgesic qualities, so local anesthesia will be used. Because you will be so relaxed and the Dentist is expert at the injection techniques used, you will probably not remember when your teeth were actually being “numbed.”
When your treatment is completed, your companion will drive you home, where you may recline and take a nap.
When you are fully awake, you will feel comfortable, relaxed and free from stress. You will probably remember very little about your wonderful, relaxing dental experience.

Conscious Inhalation Sedation

Nitrous Oxide and Oxygen, commonly known as “laughing gas,” has been used as the most frequent and primary means of Sedation in Dentistry for many years. Thirty-five percent (35%) of all United States Dentists offer Nitrous Oxide Sedation.

Advantages of Conscious Inhalation Sedation for Dentistry:

  • Works well for mild to moderate anxiety
  • Rapid onset
  • Flexible duration, used for any length appointment
  • Absolute control
  • Quickly change the level of sedation, even altering moment to moment
  • Recovery is very quick
  • Very few side effects
  • Analgesic effect
  • You may drive before and after your dental appointment
  • You may return to normal activities immediately

Disadvantages of Conscious Inhalation Sedation for Dentistry:

  • Severe anxiety may require a deeper level of Sedation
  • Not available for individuals with respiratory problems (Asthma, Emphysema)
  • Claustrophobic individuals do not like anything covering their nose

What medications are used for Conscious Inhalation Sedation?

  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Oxygen

A mixture of these gases, regulated by a monitor, is administered by means of a mask placed over the nose. A safety feature of the monitor insures you receive no less than thirty percent (30%) Oxygen mixed with the Nitrous Oxide. Usually, you receive fifty percent (50%) to seventy percent (70%) Oxygen.

How Inhalation Sedation Works

You can drive yourself to your dental appointment as you would with any other dental visit. When you arrive, you will be awake and normal. Most individuals are calmer knowing they will be sedated with Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen, commonly known as “laughing gas.”
At your appointment, you will be escorted to the dental treatment area and seated. When you are comfortable, a mask will be placed over your nose and you will be given pure Oxygen. The mask may be flavored with a scent like peppermint or vanilla.
If you feel cold, we will provide a warm cover as we want you to have a peaceful, relaxing appointment. If there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable, please do not hesitate to ask.
Nitrous Oxide will then be mixed with the Oxygen and adjusted to a level that is comfortable for you. This mixture will be adjusted throughout your appointment to meet your needs.

When your treatment is completed, the Nitrous Oxide will be turned off and you will be given pure Oxygen until you feel completely normal. You will feel fully awake and alert. You will feel comfortable and relaxed. You may even remember very little about your wonderful dental experience. In addition, you will be able to drive yourself home or do anything else you would normally do.