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What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medication, either inhaled, taken orally, or administered via IV, that helps reduce anxiety during a dental procedure. The level of sedation can vary depending on the procedure.

Why is sedation dentistry effective at treating anxiety about dental procedures?

Anxiety about dental procedures is a common concern among patients. Sedation dentistry, especially oral sedation, not only helps reduce this anxiety, but also often results in the patient not remembering the procedure afterward. This makes their experience in the dental chair much more enjoyable.

Is oral sedation safer than general anesthesia?

Oral sedation and general anesthesia serve different purposes. General anesthesia is used for more invasive procedures and is done in a controlled environment. Oral sedation, on the other hand, is used to reduce anxiety during the procedure while the patient is still in the dental chair.

What are the types of dental sedation?

Dental sedation varies from light sedation with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to oral sedation, and more intense forms of sedation done via IV or in a hospital setting. The latter is typically done by an oral surgeon.

What do oral surgeons use for sedation?

Oral surgeons often use more potent medications, usually administered via IV, either in their office or in a hospital setting for major reconstructive procedures.

What can I expect during oral sedation?

Oral sedation helps to calm you down during your dental visit. While some patients might fall asleep, the main goal is to ensure you're relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure.

Do you need sedation for tooth extraction?

Sedation is not a necessary component for any procedure. However, if a patient prefers sedation and is medically cleared for it, we can certainly offer it to ensure a positive experience.

Are you awake under sedation?

With the types of sedation we offer, patients are typically awake for the procedure. Some may doze off during part or all of the procedure, but the goal is to ensure the patient is relaxed and calm throughout.

Is sedation dentistry painless?

Although we can’t guarantee a total elimination of pain during dental procedures, we take measures to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible. Oral sedation often aids in the numbing process during the procedure and can enhance the overall experience.

What are the possible side effects of sedation dentistry?

Like any medication, there's a possibility of feeling nauseous after a dental procedure with oral sedation.

How can I request sedation during my next dental procedure?

If you have any more questions about sedation dentistry or if you wish to request it for your next procedure, please call us at (850) 909-9731. We look forward to seeing you at your upcoming visit and discussing further specifics then.

Guaranteed Comfort While in the Chair

At our dental office, whether we’re treating gum disease or replacing missing teeth, we often use local anesthetic to ensure our patients don’t feel the slightest hint of physical discomfort at any point of their treatment. For our more nervous patients, sedation dentistry can help with the other side of the coin—dental-related anxiety. The techniques outlined below can help calm racing minds and enable a patient to feel completely comfortable while in the chair so they can get what they need without experiencing unnecessary stress. To learn how we could use sedation dentistry in Tallahassee, FL while taking care of your smile, contact us today.

Why Choose Periodontics & Implant Dentistry of Tallahassee for Sedation Dentistry?

  • Able to Calm Any Level of Dental Anxiety
  • On-Site Sedation Available
  • We Take Our Patients’ Concerns Seriously


Oral Conscious Sedation

For many patients, oral conscious sedation sounds too good to be true. You’re simply prescribed a pill to take at home the day of your appointment, so by the time you actually reach our dental office and sit in the chair, you’ll already feel calm, cool and ready to go. You’ll most likely remain awake for the entire appointment and be able to respond to basic commands, but some patients actually end up falling asleep and only wake up once their procedure is finished! Read on below to learn more about this incredibly effective sedation option.

What Is Oral Conscious Sedation?

Oral conscious sedation is a form of sedation dentistry that doesn’t require any injections or face mask to receive. Instead, it comes in the form of a pill that is taken orally ahead of your appointment. Typically we recommend oral conscious sedation for those who have more moderate levels of anxiety, nervousness, or fear prior or during dental appointments.

While the type of sedative we prescribe may be different from other offices (i.e. Valium, Ativan, Halcion, or something else), you’ll need to take it either ahead of or immediately after arriving at our office.

Oral sedation

How Does Oral Conscious Sedation Work?

After the sedative is taken, the effects should start to kick in pretty soon (roughly 15 minutes or so depending on the drug used). The side effects will linger after your appointment is complete, so you’ll need to have either a friend or family member drive you to and from the office.

You should start to feel very relaxed and calm after taking your medication – many patients don’t even remember their appointment once it has worn off completely. This can be a major benefit for those who feel anxious about the stimuli commonly found in dental offices. Keep in mind that you’ll still be awake to receive simple commands as well as tell us about your comfort levels during your appointment.

Are You a Good Candidate for Oral Conscious Sedation?

Oral conscious sedation is mainly recommended to help relieve anxiety or dental phobia, something that millions of people experience every time they go to the dentist. However, it’s far from the only group that can benefit from its use. For example, it can also help those who have:

  • A tendency to cancel or reschedule dental appointments at the last minute (either because of fear of treatment or hearing bad news about their oral health)
  • A sensitive gag reflex
  • Difficulty keeping their mouth open for long periods of time or sitting in the dental chair
  • Multiple treatments to complete in a single appointment
  • Difficulty getting numb with local anesthesia
  • Had poor dental experiences previously


Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Gentle, effective, and fast, nitrous oxide sedation is perfect for those patients who just need to “take the edge” off of their dental anxiety. The gas is inhaled through a small nasal mask, and within moments, a patient will begin to feel warm, happy, and slightly numb. The mask stays on the entire time we’re working, and the amount of gas can be adjusted based on a patient’s comfort level. Once we’re finished and the mask is removed, a patient will feel completely normal in minutes and be able to resume their day.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

Nitrous oxide sedation is a popular choice among patients and dentists alike form many reasons. One of the most prevalent reasons is that it’s an excellent choice for practically anyone! From younger to older patients, from those with minor anxiety to extremely sensitive gag reflexes, nitrous oxide can help a wide range of patients feel comfortable in the dental chair. Typically, this light and gentle form of dental sedation is recommended for patients who:

  • Need some help relaxing in the dental chair
  • Are feeling nervous about a particular treatment
  • Don’t respond well to traditional numbing medications
  • Have very sensitive teeth or an overactive gag reflex
  • Have jaw, neck, back, or shoulder pain while sitting in the dental chair
  • Will be having several treatments completed at once
  • Will be undergoing a more complex procedure

However, nitrous oxide sedation is not a good choice for everyone. Before we clear you for its use, we’ll meet with you to review your medical history and current health. If nitrous oxide isn’t an effective choice for you, we’ll help you discover your other options for making treatment more comfortable and relaxing, such as oral conscious sedation.


How Does Nitrous Oxide Sedation Work?

Nitrous oxide dental sedation is more commonly known as laughing gas. It’s administered via a small mask placed over your nose. Within just a few moments of inhaling the colorless, odorless gas, a light, warm, and airy sensation will wash over you.

You’ll remain conscious throughout your appointment, but you won’t register any of the sights, sounds, and sensations that would typically cause you distress. Our team will monitor your vital signs carefully and we will be able to adjust your level of sedation at any time if needed.

Not only will nitrous oxide help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during your appointment, but it frequently helps us complete procedures faster as well!

Aftercare for Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Another one of the most popular benefits of nitrous oxide sedation that patients love is how little aftercare is needed for it. In fact, there is practically no aftercare needed at all! Once we’ve completed your treatment, we’ll remove your mask. Within just a few moments of breathing in regular oxygen, you’ll return to your normal level of consciousness. You’ll even be able to drive yourself home afterwards! With nitrous oxide sedation, you’ll be able to go about the rest of your day at work, school, or home without any interruptions.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Although sedation dentistry provides several benefits, there’s a lot of misinformation about it. You likely have a few concerns before you’re ready to agree to dental sedation, but there isn’t any reason to worry. Dr. Rasmussen will explain everything during your consultation to calm your nerves. In the meantime, here are the answers to frequently asked questions.

Who is a candidate for sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry can help many patients with several unique needs, such as:

  • Dental-related fears or phobias
  • Afraid of needles
  • Concerned about pain
  • Difficult staying in one position
  • Strong gag reflex
  • Difficulty keeping the jaw open
  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Difficulty getting numb from anesthesia
  • Need a lengthy procedure
  • Need multiple procedures

Your sedation dentist will learn more about your concerns and health history to ensure it’s the right option for you.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Sedation dentistry is safe when administered by a trained professional and used on the ideal candidate. There are certain health conditions and medications that can increase the risk of adverse complications, which is why Dr. Rasmussen will review your medical history. If you’re a candidate for dental sedation, you’ll be monitored throughout the entire process to detect any concerns quickly. Generally, nitrous oxide is considered the safest for most patients.

Can I drive myself to and from my appointment?

It depends on the type of sedation. Nitrous oxide is an inhaled sedative that takes effect quickly but doesn’t have any lingering side effects. Within a few minutes of stopping the sedative, you’ll feel completely yourself. You can even drive yourself home from your appointment. However, if oral conscious sedation better suits your needs, you’ll need to arrange transportation. The prescribed medication can take a few hours to wear off, which means you may be a little groggy. It’s better to have a friend or loved one accompany you to the dentist and remain with you until the effects of the sedative fully dissipate.

Will I remember my appointment?

Every patient differs, but it’s not unusual for your memory to be a little fuzzy, even with nitrous oxide. Although you may be able to recall certain details about your procedure, your memory may be fragmented. This is more common with oral conscious sedation; however, you may completely forget about your treatment using the stronger sedative. If you are fearful of the dentist or worry about pain, the brief lapse of memory can make it easier to visit your dentist in the future.

Does dental sedation also stop pain?

Again, it depends on the sedation. Typically, nitrous oxide will help you relax, but you may still need a local numbing agent to prevent any pain. Oral conscious sedation will keep you calm while promoting a pain-free dental appointment, but it may need to be used along with other medications. Dr, Rasmussen will explain what you can expect during your consultation. With patient comfort a top priority, he will strive to keep you comfortable the entire time you’re in the dental chair.

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