How Does Dental Sedation Work?

child having dentistry while asleep

Our Bowmanville Dentists Explain Dental Sedation

For those with dental anxiety, dental appointments can be torturous. But you don’t have to suffer from a crippling phobia to benefit from sedation dentistry. As dentists, we at Bowmanville Dental know that dental visits can create stress for even the calmest of people. Most of us experience some level of anxiety surrounding upcoming dental appointments, and that’s okay. Dental sedation can make your appointments feel faster and can help you feel less stress and discomfort during your time in the dental chair.  Dental sedation can help patients who experience:

  • fear of dental appointments
  • fear of pain during treatment
  • fear of injections or needles
  • unpleasant associations with the sounds, smells, and sensations that accompany dental visits
  • physical discomfort or bodily stress during appointments
  • discomfort from relinquishing control
  • a sensitive gag-reflex

Sedation dentistry aims to manage the anxiety that makes appointments unbearable, so you can relax and get the dental work you need.

How Dental Sedation Works

We offer three forms of sedation at our Bowmanville, ON dental office:

(1) nitrous oxide gas, commonly referred to as “laughing gas,”

(2) oral sedation, and

(3) general anesthesia, sometimes call sleep dentistry).

Providing three levels of sedation can help us tailor a unique approach to address your anxiety, be it mild or severe.

Nitrous Oxide Gas

This medication is extremely safe, has few side effects, and wears off shortly after the treatments are complete. Most patients report feeling calm and free from worry during this form of sedation. The gas is combined with oxygen and delivered via a nose-mask, and patients can drive themselves home shortly after their appointment.

Oral Sedation

This approach uses mild anti-anxiety medications to help patients feel calmer and more relaxed during treatments. The medication does not induce sleep, but patients frequently feel so relaxed that they fall asleep during treatment. Patients who use oral sedation should have a friend or family member drive them home after treatment, since the effects of the medicine may last for several hours.

Oral sedation is often an effective solution for patients with a sensitive gag reflex. Since the sedatives work through your nervous system, your whole body will be more relaxed than usual—including the tissues of the throat that initiate the gag response.

General Anesthesia

For patients with severe anxiety, sometimes a state of full unconsciousness is the best way to get through necessary dental treatments. This form of sedation utilizes intravenous medications to induce a state of sleep, so you will be entirely unaware of anything that is happening.

During your treatment, we provide oxygen and monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels to ensure your body’s response to the medication is safe. When it is time to wake up, patients frequently ask “is it over already?” because the time seems to have flown by uneventfully.

Patients who undergo general anesthesia will need to be accompanied by a friend or family member, as they will not be able to drive afterward. They should not plan on returning to work or school the same day, as the medication may take several hours to wear off completely.

If You Require Dental Sedation

If you would like to take advantage of the benefits of sedation dentistry, contact us and we will arrange a consultation to make sure it is a safe option for you. We will go over your medical history and discuss any conditions that may be relevant to this type of treatment.  To make an appointment call our Bowmanville, ON dental office at 905-697-9799. We look forward to helping you be more comfortable during your dental visits and get the excellent care you deserve!