Sedation Dentistry

Imagine undergoing a complex periodontal procedure and when your treatment is complete, you have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort you were expecting. We are pleased to offer our patients the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:

  • A fear or anxiety of being at the dentist
  • A hard time sitting still for long periods of time
  • A hard time getting (and staying) numb from anesthetics

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry allows your doctor to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for patients who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:

  • No memory of undergoing the procedure
  • No sense of time while under sedation
  • No sense of smell or sound
  • No fear or anxiety during treatment

Patients who have undergone a procedure using sedation dentistry will tell you it is a simple, relaxing way to experience dentistry.

I am nervous about being unconscious. What levels of sedation are available to me?

There is no need to be nervous about having sedation dentistry at our practice. We are licensed by the American Dental Association, and you will find that we are both respectful and professional at all times.

Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and Dr. Crum can administer oral medications to provide mild or moderate sedation for your comfort through treatment.

  • Mild Sedation — Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for patients with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally.  A medication such as Valium is prescribed for you to take prior to arriving at the office.  You remain awake but sleepy throughout the entire procedure and are able to breathe on your own.  You will feel relaxed. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete.  You must be accompanied by an adult to the appointment because you cannot drive yourself to or from the office.

Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.  Nitrous oxide can be used alone or in combination with oral sedation medications.  The effects of nitrous oxide are totally reversed with oxygen, so if used alone, you are able to drive yourself home after the appointment.

  • Moderate Sedation — Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation refers to the use of oral medications to produce a state of light sedation. With conscious sedation, you may sleep during the procedure, but you will respond to commands that we give you.  You will be in a deep state of relaxation.  Your heart rate, pulse and oxygen saturation levels are monitored throughout the procedure.  It is required that patients receiving conscious sedation have a parent, spouse, or friend accompany them to appointments to drive.  This individual also needs to stay with the patient for the rest of the day because it can take several hours for the sedative to wear off.

How are sedatives administered?

  • Inhalation — Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
  • Oral — An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. You will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before your appointment, will have you starting to relax by the time you arrive at our office.  If moderate sedation is to be achieved more medications will be administered in the office when you arrive.