An Overview Of Three Common Types Of Dental Sedation

Posted on: 25 January 2016

Dental sedation is available for both general and cosmetic dental procedures and induces a relaxed state in which you remain conscious but may not recall the details of your treatment. Sedation can be beneficial if you suffer with anxiety, are in severe pain or have a strong gag reflex. It's also useful for those with medical conditions that affect muscle control, such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson's. Here's an overview of the common types of dental sedation:

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation involves taking a sedative in tablet form before your procedure, and your dentist will likely give you the sedative to take at home. Taking this type of sedative means you'll need to be accompanied both to and from your dentist's surgery, as you'll feel very drowsy shortly after taking the tablet. Oral sedatives can be a good option if you have a strong fear of visiting the dentist, as they relax you before you step foot into the surgery, and this is the only type of sedative you can take at home. 

Inhalation Sedation

This type of sedation is administered right before your procedure and takes effect immediately. Inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can make your fingers and toes tingle and cause you to feel euphoric. It's administered in incremental doses to prevent you receiving too much and wears off quickly, meaning you won't be left feeling drowsy after you leave the dentist's surgery. This type of sedation is ideal if you're fitting your dental treatment in during your lunch break or you have other commitments in your day you need to be fit for, such as looking after your children or attending a class.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation offers a deeper level of sedation than can be achieved with oral or inhalation methods. Your dentist will insert a small catheter into one of the veins in your hand or arm and inject a sedative directly into your vein. This type of sedation works immediately, and your dentist can control the level of sedation, so there's no risk of overdose. However, the effects of the sedation can linger to some degree after your treatment, and you'll need to be accompanied home. Intravenous sedation can't be used if you have certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma and kidney disease, but it's a good option for those with a strong gag reflex due to the depth of sedation it allows.

If you think you'd benefit from being sedated during your next dental appointment, discuss the options with your dentist ahead of time. They'll be able to answer any questions you have about your chosen method of sedation and discuss the risks and potential side-effects of dental sedatives.