What Is Oral Conscious Sedation?
It’s not unusual to feel anxious or nervous when visiting the dentist and it’s estimated that between 9% and 20% of people living in the United States will avoid seeking dental treatment because they have anxieties. Some people have dental phobias that make it difficult for them to even contemplate stepping into a dental office, even though they are aware these fears are completely irrational. Unfortunately, people in this situation will often do everything possible to avoid dental visits, only scheduling an appointment when they are in extreme pain. Even if you only feel slightly nervous when seeing a dentist, it’s nice to know that there are options to help you feel much more comfortable. One choice is to have oral conscious sedation.
With oral conscious sedation, you won’t be asleep during treatment, but you will feel deeply relaxed and calm. Some people may feel sleepy, depending on the level of sedation provided as it is individually adjusted to suit the needs of each patient. The nice thing about oral conscious sedation is that it is very safe and afterward it will only take a short while for the sedatives to wear off. It’s a great way to receive essential dental treatment such as root canal therapy or dental extractions. Oral conscious sedation can also be very helpful when you require more complex treatment, for example, dental implants. Ivory Dental uses two forms of oral sedation which are Nitrous oxide, or we can provide Valium or Halcion. When needed, both treatments can be combined to help relieve more severe dental anxieties.
You are probably familiar with the concept of Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas or happy gas and it’s a form of inhalation sedation. Nitrous oxide consists of a mixture of Nitrous oxide and oxygen, usually, the mix is about 70% oxygen and 30% Nitrous oxide, but this is adjusted according to each patient needs, varying the depth of sedation.
With this treatment, our dentist will provide you with a small mask designed to only cover your nose and you need simply to sit back, relax and breathe. Any excess gas is sucked harmlessly away by a vacuum machine attached to the mask.
Nitrous oxide takes effect very quickly, inducing a pleasurable or almost euphoric sensation and given its name, it’s no surprise to learn that some people might find they have the giggles. In just two or three minutes, the Nitrous oxide should have taken full effect. You will continue to breathe in the Nitrous oxide right throughout treatment and you will be continuously monitored during this time to make sure you are kept safe.
Once the gas is turned off, its effects soon disappear. We will need to keep you with us for a short while and this is just to ensure that the Nitrous oxide has completely worn off without causing any ill effects. If you choose you could even drive yourself home although we prefer that you have someone with you to take you home.
Can Nitrous Oxide Cause Any Side Effects?
It is extremely rare to have a bad experience when using Nitrous oxide and our dental team has received additional training in using this type of sedation. Occasionally some people may find they feel slightly dizzy or lightheaded. If you experience this then you should let our dentist know immediately so they can adjust the level of sedation. Some people who suffer from severe claustrophobia might be uncomfortable with a nose mask and it may also cause slight problems for mouth breathers. These are all things that can be discussed during your initial consultation for oral conscious sedation. Another solution is to consider anti-anxiety pills.
Using Valium or Halcion
Our other option is to use anti-anxiety pills in the form of Valium or Halcion, both of which are very safe. These are great for relieving fears and for relaxing before a dental visit and we may suggest you take a pill the night before treatment or shortly before your appointment. According to Spokane Family Smiles on the subject of oral sedation, "This will help them achieve and maintain strong feelings of comfort and calm during their appointment. In fact, parts of the procedure may be fuzzy overall once it’s over, which is preferable for many people." Both Valium and Halcion are benzodiazepines. They work by interacting with receptors located in your brain in areas that are responsible for feelings of fear. This helps to decrease anxiety and they also have a sedative effect. With this option, you will definitely need someone to accompany you to your appointment as you cannot drive. Valium can induce a feeling of sleepiness and mild euphoria and generally takes effect an hour after you take the pill. It does remain in your system for quite some time afterward before it is completely eliminated. Halcion is a great alternative to intravenous sedation and works well for many people. Like Valium, Halcion can induce mild amnesia and is given approximately an hour before appointment, and then during treatment at intervals if needed.
Can Valium or Halcion Cause Any Side Effects?
Benzodiazepines are very safe and can be excellent for calming nervous patients. However, some people may feel slightly confused or giddy, or will not remember exactly what they said while taking these pills. Anti-anxiety pills are a central nervous system depressant, and benzodiazepines can lower blood pressure and your heart rate which means they should never be mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
We Take Every Precaution to Keep You Safe
When you visit Ivory Dental for treatment, Dr. Benjamin Hull and our caring dental team will go out of our way to help you feel relaxed and comfortable, but your safety is always our primary concern. Dr. Hull screens everyone extremely carefully before recommending oral conscious sedation and will want to know your medical history to ensure this treatment is safe and appropriate. During your appointment, you will be in the care of expert staff and continually monitored at all times. Once treatment is complete, we will want to keep you with us for a short while and this is to ensure you are completely okay before we send you home.
Experience Gentle Dental Care in a Supportive Environment
Ivory Dental is known for providing the most up-to-date treatments using advanced technologies in Sandpoint ID, but we also pride ourselves on taking great care of our patients, especially those who may be nervous or anxious. Many people may have dental fears or phobias due to a bad experience in the dental chair, but oral conscious sedation is one way to overcome these fears. Additionally, it’s important to remember that modern dentistry should be virtually pain-free, and that treatment can always be provided at a pace that suits you. With gentle dental care provided by an experienced and compassionate dental team, you can comfortably achieve a healthy smile.