Dental Sedation Options

Do you experience high levels of anxiety when visiting the dentist? You may be a candidate for Sedation Dentistry. Dr. Kantor is Board Certified to administer (oral conscious) sedation, commonly referred to as “Sleep Dentistry.”

Oral Sedation: 

Advantages to patients include:

  • Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
  • You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
  • Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur at during the same visit.
  • Less discomfort after treatment.

Anti-Anxiety Pills

The most commonly prescribed dental-related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.

There are two different types of Benzodiazepines:

  • Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is actually a form of hypnosis which is a form of physiological sleep.
  • Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs which relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.

There are many advantages to using Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines serve as both sedatives and anti-anxiety medications, with varying effects depending on dosage. Higher doses induce sleep, while lower doses alleviate anxiety without sedation. However, they are also CNS depressants, which can lower blood pressure and breathing.

Reasons to not use Benzodiazepines

Mixing with alcohol or other depressants is dangerous and can lead to overdose. Avoid traveling alone after taking benzodiazepines, as they can cause disorientation. Inform your doctor about any allergies or medical conditions, as benzodiazepines may interact with certain medications or exacerbate certain health issues such as liver or heart problems, respiratory diseases, or psychiatric disorders.

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Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas that you can breathe.

Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe, the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide.

The patient is able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions.

The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as little as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Reasons to not use Nitrous Oxide

You should not utilize Nitrous Oxide if you have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though there are no other major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, exotic chest problems, M.S., a cold or other difficulties with breathing.

You may want to ask your dentist for a “5-minute trial” to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.