Sedation Dentistry

Once you’ve experienced minimal-sedation dentistry with Dr. Reid, you’ll probably never be afraid to go to the dentist again.

You’ll be sedated just enough to reduce your dental the anxiety possibly enough to be unaware of the treatment, as if you were relaxing. You’ll feel refreshed, with little or possibly no memory of what was accomplished. Because you are completely comfortable, Dr. Reid can often do years of dental treatments in as little as one or two visits.

River Hills Dentistry can replace crowns or dentures, restore sore gums to good health, whiten yellow or stained teeth, fix a chipped tooth, and more. People with very busy schedules can get the dental care they need, easily and quickly.

Use of a single pill can help the apprehensive patient, who may have had previous painful dental care in the past or a traumatic experience in the dental chair, get the anxiety free dentistry care they need pain free.

Here are some of the different types of anesthesia available:

Local Anesthesia ~ The most frequently used type of anesthesia. Used to numb the area being worked on, it is given by injection (although dentists often swab a topical anesthetic gel on the injection site for the patient’s comfort). The numbing effects can last from five minutes to three hours after treatment.

Inhalation Anesthesia ~ The most commonly used inhalation agent is Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas. ” Nitrous Oxide is a sedating gas that is combined with oxygen to make patients feel more comfortable during dental care. A small rubber inhaler is placed over the patient’s nose and adjusted so that the patient breathes through it. With Nitrous Oxide, most patients experience an initial feeling of lightheadedness, which gradually leads to an overall feeling of wellbeing.

The advantages of inhalation sedation are its rapid onset, lack of lingering effects, the ability of the patient to engage in conversation while under its influence, and the ability of the patient to drive home unassisted.

Other more potent anesthetic gases are available and can be used for general anesthesia, usually in a hospital setting.

Oral Conscious Sedation ~ The patient takes a pill before treatment. The patient becomes sleepy, and develops a diminished awareness of sounds and smells. The effects can last for up to four hours. A patient is monitored for his or her individual response. Commonly administered oral sedatives include: Valium, Halcion, Xanax, and Ativan.

Advantages of oral conscious sedation include: It is easily administered (no needles), generally has a low incidence of side effects, the patient can breathe independently, and the patient retains the ability to interact with and respond to the dentist.

This mode of sedation is gaining popularity as “sedation” or “sleep” dentistry; however, oral medications do not and should not put a patient to sleep. Therefore, patients using this method who want to be to be “asleep” may be more aware of dental treatment than they want to be.

Intravenous Sedation ~ Also known as IV or “conscious sedation.” Patients often think they are asleep and have no memory of the procedure but can respond to the dentist when necessary. IV sedation is a safe, precise, and highly effective technique for management of moderate to more severe levels of dental fear. This method may also be used for patients who are not physically or behaviorally able to cooperate with dentistry. Commonly used drugs include Valium, Versed, Fentanyl, Propofol, and Demerol, either alone or in combinations selected by a doctor. For patients who want to be totally asleep, this modality can become “total intravenous anesthesia,” administered by a specialist while the dentist works.

A major benefit of some of these IV drugs is amnesia. The patient will have no memory of most, or even all, of the dental treatment. Another benefit is the comparatively quick recovery time. Most patients relax and have a light meal the evening following treatment.

During the procedure, devices will be attached to the patient to monitor breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. In some offices, sedation is administered by a physician anesthesiologist, optimizing the safety of the procedure.

Intramuscular Sedation ~ Sedative drugs are injected into the muscle of the upper arm or the thigh, producing sedation in approximately 2 to 30 minutes depending on the medication used. Intramuscular conscious sedation is rarely used to sedate adults, but is commonly employed in the management of fearful children.

General Anesthesia ~ The most uniformly dependable of all the sleep sedation modalities, because medication can be accurately dosed and the patients response can be appropriately monitored. It can be a combination of injected or inhaled sedation. While the effects can last for hours, many patients safely return home within 2 to 4 hours after treatment is complete. Most people resume normal activity on the day following treatment.

As with I.V. sedation, an anesthesiologist is present and uses monitoring devices, which are attached to the patient during the procedure.

Because the patient is deeply asleep, general anesthesia is the most controlled, effective and predictable method for highly anxious and fearful patients. General anesthesia is also often used for patients who are not physically or behaviorally able to cooperate with dentistry, for patients with special needs, and for patients whose medical conditions place them at risk. It can also be the ideal method when multiple procedures need to be accomplished in one visit.