Many of our new patients have the same question: is sedation dentistry safe? The short answer is yes. However, there are various forms of sedation dentistry, and determining which method of sedation is the safest and most-effective treatment for you depends on a number of key factors – things like age, medical history, risk tolerance and your overall severity of anxiety or fear.
In this article, we’ll touch on a few common concerns of sedation dentistry – and explain how we address these concerns at our practice. Before we dive into the particulars of sedation dentistry though, let’s distinguish between the two types of sedation dentistry we offer – IV sedation and laughing gas sedation (also known as nitrous gas sedation).
IV sedation involves being moderately sedated with the same type of drugs often associated with general anesthesia, while laughing gas sedation involves being lightly sedated with nitrous oxide. Both methods of sedation are widely used by dentists today and, when done by trained professionals, are considered safe and low-risk.
What Are the Risks of IV Sedation Dentistry?
There are inherent risks associated with any form of sedation or anesthesia. Some of our IV sedation dentistry patients are as anxious about being sedated as they are about seeing the dentist in the first place. That’s understandable. Relinquishing control of your physical and mental faculties can make anyone uncomfortable, whether you have a fear of the dentist or not.
What many of our patients do not realize – until we explain it to them – is that we do not deeply sedate any of our patients to the point of unconsciousness, even with IV sedation. Rather, we only moderately sedate our patients, meaning that, at any point during the procedure, we can awaken you with a gentle shake or nudge.
In fact, many of our IV sedation dentistry patients feel as though they have slept through the entire procedure when, in actuality, they were awake, coherent and responding to our questions and requests the entire time.
If you find yourself getting overly anxious about the idea of being sedated through IV sedation, you might consider laughing gas sedation as an alternative. Of course, there are exceptions. Depending on the type of dental treatment you need, we may recommend IV sedation over laughing gas sedation, especially if the procedure needed is more involved and time-intensive (for example, dental implants).
What Precautions Are Taken Before Sedating a Patient?
We take IV sedation very seriously. Before we ever schedule a sedation dentistry appointment, we will consult with you about your medical history and evaluate important factors such as your age, body-mass index and whether or not you suffer from any sort of sleep-related disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Our number one concern is always your health, safety and overall well-being. If we determine that you are not an ideal candidate for sedation dentistry, we will let you know from the start and seek an alternative dental treatment plan for you.
What Are the After-Effects of Being Sedated?
Every person’s body is different, so we cannot say with 100% certainty how your body will react to the sedation drugs, whether we’re talking about nitrous oxide or intravenous drugs. However, to give you a better idea of how these sedation drugs effect your body in the minutes and hours after your dental appointment, we’ll speak in terms about what we have seen in our patients over the years.
Generally speaking, it’s common that the effects of laughing gas sedation wear off in a matter of minutes. Our patients who have been sedated by laughing gas are typically able to drive themselves home from the appointment without any problem whatsoever. On the other hand, our IV sedation dentistry patients need someone else to drive them home, although the residual “hangover” effects of the IV sedation drugs are still considered minimal.
A Whole Team of Healthcare Professionals by Your Side.
At Greenville Family Dentistry, we decided a long time ago that, in order for us to provide the very best care possible to our patients, we should focus our energy on dentistry and let the nursing professionals handle the sedation portion of the dental procedures.
For that reason, we have partnered with licensed nursing professionals known as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) who can safely administer the IV sedation drugs and monitor you closely, while we work to improve your smile and enhance your overall oral health.
A CRNA is more than an important-sounding acronym – it’s a licensed professional nurse who can provide the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (MD). Becoming a CRNA requires extensive education and training and, once certified, a CRNA can practice in all 50 states. Not only do we know our CRNAs well from having worked with them for years, we also know how to work well together. We empower them to care for you, and they, in turn, enable us to do our job more effectively.
The benefit of this partnership to you is that you have a whole team of highly-trained healthcare professionals who are caring for you and monitoring your safety from the moment you walk into our office. In the 24-48 hours following your IV sedation dentistry appointment, we’ll even follow up with your caregiver – a family member or friend of your choosing – to ensure that your recovery is going every bit as smoothly as planned.
Schedule a Free Sedation Dentistry Consultation.
Are you ready to learn more about sedation dentistry? We invite you to schedule a free sedation dentistry consultation, where we’ll provide you with a free dental exam, discuss your anxieties or fears, and talk through any safety concerns you may have. It’s all free-of-charge, and it all starts by requesting your free consultation here or by calling (864) 877-9111 to speak with a member of our staff today.