Sedation Dentistry Options
Taking care of your mouth is essential for maintaining your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice a day and that you floss at least once every day as well. Regular dental visits for cleanings and exams are essential as well. Even those working hard to keep their mouths healthy can still experience issues, such as a cracked tooth, tooth decay, tooth loss and more. Treating these issues promptly is important. However, if you feel fear or anxiety about a necessary treatment, you may try to avoid it. Ignoring treatment allows your condition to worsen, which then leads to the need for more invasive treatments later. At Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery, we can help you to ease your anxiety, allowing you to get the treatments you need, with sedation dentistry options.
Aiding You in Getting Your Treatments
Many people experience fear when it comes to receiving dental treatments. For some, this fear can be paralyzing. The thought of having a tooth extracted, an implant placed, or undergoing some other surgical procedure is enough to make them avoid their treatments. Ignoring an oral health issue in hopes that it will disappear on its own does not work. Oral health issues tend to worsen over time, which means more invasive treatments will be needed later. With sedation, you can relax in the dental chair, allowing you to get the treatments you need when you need them.
While fear and anxiety are common reasons for sedation, they are not the only ones. Other reasons for sedation include:
You are probably more familiar with nitrous oxide under its more common name, laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is a form of mild sedation. In fact, it is the mildest, and safest, form available. It is an inhaled sedative that places you in a very relaxed state. You are completely conscious throughout your entire procedure. If we need to ask you a question or need you to do something, you can respond.
Nitrous oxide is a gas that is inhaled through a mask that we place over your nose. After the mask is placed over your nose, we turn on both nitrous oxide as well as oxygen, and the two gasses mix. You will begin to feel the effects almost immediately, and you will begin to relax. We monitor you closely throughout your entire procedure and can make quick adjustments. You also have a significant amount of control. By breathing in deeper or faster, you can receive more sedation, while slower breathing provides you with less. As soon as your procedure is over, the nitrous oxide is shut off, but the oxygen remains on for approximately 5 minutes. This helps to ensure that all of the nitrous oxide is out of your system. The effects wear off quickly. In fact, most people who undergo treatment with nitrous oxide can drive themselves home after their appointment is over.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is a form of moderate sedation. With this type of sedation, you are still conscious, but you are made to feel drowsy. One of the most common side effects is temporary amnesia. Many patients cannot recall their procedure, or can only recall parts of it, which is often seen as a benefit to those who are exceptionally nervous.
With oral conscious sedation, you are provided with a prescription for a sedative that you will take by mouth approximately one hour before your procedure. Common oral sedatives include lorazepam and diazepam. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the sedative to begin working. This time varies from person to person. Some feel the effects sooner, while others feel them later. Because of this, it is essential that you have a responsible driver who can bring you to the office. Once your procedure is complete, you will also need this person to bring you home. The effects of oral conscious sedation can last for several hours.
IV sedation can be used for a few different levels of sedation. It is commonly used for moderate conscious sedation, which has the same effects as oral conscious sedation. It can be used for deep sedation, which places you on the very brink of just falling asleep. Many patients do fall asleep. IV sedation can also be used for general anesthesia, a type of sedation that puts you completely to sleep for the duration of your procedure. No matter what form your IV sedation will take, it is important to remember that you will need to abstain from eating or drinking anything, including water, for at least 6 to 8 hours before your scheduled appointment. There are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, unless otherwise directed, you should continue to take all medications as normal. In these cases, a small amount of water is acceptable.
When you sit down in the dental chair, we will insert a small needle either into your arm or the back of your hand. The needle is attached to IV, or intravenous, fluids. When we are ready to begin your procedure, the medication is added, and it travels directly into your bloodstream. The medication takes effect within seconds. We monitor you the entire time, keeping a close eye on your vitals. We track your heart rate, your blood-oxygen level, your breathing, your blood pressure and more. If necessary, we can adjust your medication during your procedure to keep you comfortable and make sure everything goes smoothly. Once your procedure is over, we remove the needle, and you can go home to rest. The effects of IV sedation can linger for several hours so, much like with oral conscious sedation, you will need to have a responsible driver who can drive you.
With sedation, you can relax and remain calm while receiving necessary treatments. Getting those treatments is essential for restoring your oral health and preventing more serious consequences from occurring. For more information, and to find out more about how sedation dentistry can help you, call Westlake Oral and Plastic Surgery today at (805) 267-9766.
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