Anxiety about going to the dentist is common in both children and adults. As dentists, we have many tools to help our patients overcome this anxiety and sedation dentistry is one of the most effective. Dental sedation helps you feel relaxed during your procedure—while it can’t do anything about the anxiety you feel before going to the dentist, for many patients, simply knowing that they will be sedated during their treatment alleviates much of the anxiety they feel in the lead up to their appointment.
At Barkoff Dental, we offer two forms of sedation dentistry: nitrous oxide and conscious oral sedation. Here’s how sedation dentistry works.
Nitrous oxide is more commonly known as laughing gas. You may have had laughing gas during dental procedures as a child, but it’s also available for adults who need some help relaxing during their appointment. Nitrous oxide is one of the most commonly used forms of dental sedation because it has a long track record of safety, it’s effective, and it wears off quickly so you’ll be able to drive yourself home after your procedure.
Before we begin your procedure, we will place a small mask over your nose. A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is sent through this mask; when you breathe it in, you’ll feel calm and comfortable, but you’ll remain fully conscious and aware of your surroundings. Some patients also experience feelings of light-headedness, tingling, or heaviness in their extremities.
Nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and it wears off just as fast. Within minutes of removing the mask, you’ll feel back to normal.
Conscious Oral Sedation
Conscious oral sedation is an option we offer for patients who have more severe dental anxiety or phobias. Your dentist will prescribe a single sedative pill for you to pick up at your pharmacy and take before your appointment. The oral sedative will put you in a relaxed state. You’ll feel more relaxed than you would with nitrous oxide, but you will still be conscious and awake.
Oral sedation doesn’t wear off as fast as nitrous oxide, so you will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure.
Deciding If Sedation Is Right for You
If you’re nervous about an upcoming appointment, please call our office and we can discuss whether sedation dentistry is right for you. If you will require conscious oral sedation, we must know this in advance so we can send a prescription to your pharmacy.
Our team at Barkoff Dental is very sensitive to patients who have dental anxiety; often, this empathy and gentle care is all that patients need to get over their anxiety after a previous bad experience with another dentist. Still, there are other patients who need the assistance of dental sedation, and this is perfectly fine too! It’s common for patients with anxiety to need sedation during their first few appointments, and as they become more comfortable with us, they find that they no longer need to be sedated.