If you struggle with anxiety or fear of the dentist, even the concept of sedation dentistry might seem scary at first. Many patients have questions about the sedation process and wonder, what is the recovery like for sedation dentistry? To help you understand what to expect, we have broken down the options and outcomes of each sedation dentistry service we offer in this article.
Laughing Gas Sedation
One of the most well-known forms of sedation in dentistry is nitrous gas – more commonly known as “laughing gas.” With laughing gas sedation, you breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask placed over your nose, while our team monitors the levels to ensure your health and safety.
The effects of nitrous oxide occur quickly where you begin to feel relaxed and stress-free as soon as 30 seconds after breathing in the gas. The feelings of anxiety and dread melt away as you sink into one of our comfy chairs. Some patients describe carefree, euphoric feelings, accompanied with floating or tingling sensations. Most patients remain awake while sedated with laughing gas and can even speak with us throughout the treatment.
Laughing Gas Sedation Recovery
What is the recovery like for laughing gas sedation? With laughing gas sedation, you often retain some level of control over the experience, though you may not remember it, and you can recover from the effects of the drug quickly. Once the dental procedure is complete and you’re no longer breathing in the gas, you’ll feel back to your normal self within just a few minutes. Because nitrous gas sedation is considered a mild anesthetic, you can typically drive yourself home from the appointment. In rare cases, some patients may experience nausea as a side effect of the nitrous gas.
For all IV sedation appointments, 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. Our CRNAs are highly trained professionals whom we’ve worked with for years. Together, we are dedicated to your oral health, comfort and, most importantly, safety during all procedures involving IV sedation drugs.
So what can you expect with IV sedation? Our CRNAs and dental assistants talk you through each and every step, so you know exactly what is happening – and when. After setting an IV, the CRNA will administer the anesthetic drugs, and it only takes a few short minutes for the effects of the drugs to take place.
During the dental procedure, your CRNA is at your side monitoring you and working with the dentist to ensure the timing of the procedure matches the dosage and effects of the sedation drugs. Many patients feel so relaxed and comfortable that they feel as if they were asleep throughout the whole procedure – thanks to the magic work of the CRNA – but, in reality, they are conscious and fully awake.
Occasionally patients are so deeply relaxed that they may actually fall asleep. When this happens, Dr. Harris or the CRNA will gently nudge the patient and speak to him or her so that they remain awake and the dental work can be completed. Being able to awaken a sedated patient is the main way to distinguish between conscious (also known as moderate) sedation and deep sedation. We do not sedate any of our patients to the point of unconsciousness, even when utilizing the IV sedation method.
IV Sedation Recovery
What is the recovery like for IV sedation dentistry? Once the dental work is complete, the CRNA uses techniques and medications that take effect quickly and reduce the “hang-over effect” or grogginess often associated with other sedation methods. Because the drugs used in IV sedation are considered moderate anesthetics – compared to the mild laughing gas anesthetic – you might be required to stay in the chair for up to an hour as your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure are monitored to ensure they are back to their normal levels before you leave. You must have a family member or friend drive you home after the procedure. This person is commonly called a caregiver.
Some of the side effects of IV sedation include drowsiness, headaches, nausea and sluggishness, and they may take the remainder of the day to fully wear off. It’s advised that you take the day off work when scheduling your dental procedure and avoid intense physical activity until the side effects wear off – especially if your work tasks require precision or operating heavy machinery.
In the 24-48 hours following your IV sedation dentistry appointment, we will follow up with your caregiver to ensure that your recovery is going well and you feel confident in the outcome of the dental procedure.
Schedule a Complimentary Consultation
Are you ready to learn more about sedation dentistry? We invite you to schedule a complimentary sedation dentistry consultation, where we’ll provide you with a free dental exam, discuss your anxieties or fears, and talk through any safety and recovery concerns you may have. As part of the consultation, we will discuss your treatment options and the estimated costs associated with them. Request a consultation now or call (864) 877-9111 to speak with us.