It's a common misconception that sedation dentistry is the same as sleep dentistry. In reality, sedation dentistry is a moderate level of sedation that allows you to remain conscious while feeling relaxed and carefree. It is sometimes referred to as conscious sedation dentistry or “twilight sleep” because it creates a short-term state of amnesia (lack of memory) in which one experiences insensitivity to pain without losing consciousness. Sedation dentistry uses medications to help patients relax during dental procedures.
It takes the limit off your experience, so you don't think too much about the procedure. For example, if you're afraid of going to the dentist, sedation dentistry can help you overcome those fears and get the preventive care and treatment you need. In addition, sedation dentistry can make it easier to perform complex dental work. The most common type of sedation used in dentistry is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
This sedative combines nitrogen and oxygen to help patients feel calm and relaxed while receiving dental care. Some dentists may choose to hire qualified doctors or dentists to come to their office to sedate their patients. Conscious sedation is a technique in which the use of one or more drugs produces a state of depression in the central nervous system (CNS) that allows treatment to be carried out, but during which verbal contact with the patient is maintained throughout the period of sedation. In some cases, people may need some form of sedation even for basic dental care such as teeth cleaning. If you have recently undergone dental treatment with sedation, the effects may take at least 24 hours to wear off.
Children may also receive sedation if they are afraid to go to the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit. Most periodontists offer oral sedation and intravenous sedation, as they alleviate dental anxiety and offer a much more comfortable experience. Dental sedation relieves anxieties and phobias, helping you stay calm and comfortable during dental procedures. Most people who receive intravenous sedation fall asleep and have little or no memory of the treatment when they wake up. People who choose conscious oral sedation or intravenous sedation usually need about 24 hours to fully recover. However, certain people, such as those who are obese or those who have obstructive sleep apnea, should talk to their doctor before receiving sedation.
If you find that you avoid dental appointments due to fear or anxiety, consider dental sedation. Your dentist will recommend the most appropriate type of sedation for the procedures you need and your level of anxiety. With this mode of sedation, you can go to the office and go home alone, without the need for a family member or friend to accompany you, as is the case with other modes of sedation. Dental sedation is generally not recommended for pregnant people because some sedative medications can affect fetal development.