How Effective is Sedation Dentistry?
At 58 Dental we work with all sorts of patients who have various levels of anxiety about dentistry. Anxiety about dentistry is nothing to be ashamed of and I’m here to tell you there is good news. There is a level of dental sedation that can be extremely effective for you, given your level of worry. The best analogy I can think of is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There is a level of dental sedation for everyone; we just need to match the correct level of sedation to your specific needs. So, let’s take a minute and talk through the levels of sedation and how effective they are.
Light sedation: This is usually “laughing gas,” also known as Nitrous Oxide. The best way to describe this level of sedation is by comparing it to drinking 1-2 glasses of wine or beer. You are still aware of what is happening, you can still communicate, but you are in a more relaxed state and aren’t really worried about what is happening. Laughing gas is really good for patients who have low levels of dental anxiety.
Moderate sedation: This is usually a prescribed medication you take orally prior to your dental appointment. At 58 Dental, our preferred oral sedation medication is Halcion. Halcion comes from a broad family of anti-anxiety medications. This medication is very effective. It is not meant to put people to sleep, but 85% of patients are so relaxed that they usually start to doze off or even sleep during their appointment. After the sedation, patients usually don’t have much memory of their dental appointment. They remember coming to the dentist, but not the specifics of the appointment. This type of sedation is very good for patients with moderate to moderately high levels of anxiety.
Heavy sedation: If a patient is extremely fearful, meaning 10/10, IV sedation is the best option. This is the most effective sedation for severe anxiety. When I say severe anxiety, I mean someone who is so fearful that it takes everything within them to just walk through the door of the dental office. IV sedation is the heaviest of the sedations. Patients remember nothing about the appointment because they are “asleep” through the entire appointment. At 58 Dental, if this is the level of sedation you would find most appropriate, we work specifically with a nurse anesthetist team that focuses solely on your sedation while you are at our office.
Please do not let the fear of dentistry stop you from having a healthy, beautiful smile. There is an effective level of dental sedation that will meet your needs. Gone are the days of gripping the armrests. Check out our Sedation Dentistry page to see if one of these levels of sedation sounds good for you.