What is Sedation Dentistry and How Does it Work?
The use of safe sedatives in sedation dentistry helps patients relax while having dental work done. In addition to its use in longer, more invasive procedures such as root canal therapies and dental implants, dental sedation can also be safely used during routine checkups and cleanings.
Sedation dentistry works by tapping into a naturally occurring neurotransmitter known as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is responsible for limiting panic-inducing signals to the brain. Sedatives such as nitrous oxide amplify those anxiety-relieving effects to help patients remain relaxed throughout procedures.
Don't let fear keep you away from the dentist
Dental fears and phobias are more common than you likely think. Roughly 40-percent of individuals report having dental anxieties and phobias that complicate their treatments.When you visit Schroeder Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, you will be greeted by a warm, welcoming, and understanding staff. Please let us know if you experience anxiety while visiting the dentist so we can best accommodate you. Even if it's a routine checkup and cleaning, we want you to feel comfortable whenever you visit.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation (Laughing Gas)
The most prevalent type of sedation in general dentistry is nitrous oxide sedation, often referred to as "laughing gas." Nitrous oxide is administered using a small mask over the nose known as a "nasal hood." There are several methods in which nitrous oxide operates.
Along with its ability to induce a state of relaxation by binding to GABA-A receptors, nitrous oxide also causes the locus coeruleus part of the brain to produce norepinephrine, a hormone that works to pain pain-signaling messages to the brain.
Several minutes after nitrous oxide is administered you will begin to feel relaxed. Since nitrous oxide is a short-acting sedative, once the nasal hood is removed you will rapidly return to a normal state. Since it is such a short-acting sedative, you will not need a designated driver once your appointment is over.
Oral sedation, more commonly known as "conscious sedation," is generally taken the night prior and an hour before a procedure. Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam, trazolam, and diazepam are the most often prescribed types of oral sedation. While under oral sedation you might feel relaxed, comfortable, and possibly slightly sleepy.
Because the effects of oral sedation can last several hours, you should have a designated driver to take you home following your appointment.