General anesthesia is a method of sedation in which you will be put to sleep for the entire duration of your dental treatment. This is more common for complex procedures such as oral surgery. Medicines that put you to sleep will be administered and you will not be conscious during the procedure, and will be unable to respond or feel any pain.
You will wake up with no recollection of the procedure. You will not be able to drive home afterward and will feel very tired for the rest of the day. You should have another adult monitor you for at least 8 hours after your procedure and get plenty of rest.
Nitrous Oxide - Nitrous oxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is administered alongside oxygen through a gas mask that is inhaled by the patient. Nitrous oxide has a quick onset so the effects of the sedative will be felt almost immediately. The effects of nitrous oxide include feeling very relaxed, euphoric, and giddy.
Some people may experience fits of laughter which is why it is nicknamed laughing gas. Nitrous oxide works by slowing down the brain and body’s responses. While nitrous oxide is considered an extremely safe and mild sedative, some patients may experience visual and auditory hallucinations or an inability to think straight.
The only necessary preparation for nitrous oxide is to fast for 2 hours before the treatment. Once the treatment is done, Dr. Bonner Morren will flood the mask with oxygen and the sedative will wear off quickly, within a few minutes.
Oral Conscious Sedation - Oral conscious sedation involves taking an anti-anxiety pill an hour before your dental appointment which will help to reduce dental anxiety and cause feelings of calmness. You will not be able to drive to or from your appointment, so you must arrange for rides on the day of your treatment.
Oral conscious sedation takes longer to kick in than nitrous oxide and can be a mild or moderate sedative depending on the dosage of the medication. Oral conscious sedation will cause drowsiness but you will still be fully conscious. If you receive a larger dose, you may fall asleep in the dental chair but it won’t be difficult to wake you up.
Dental sedation is generally considered safe, but the exact risks associated with sedation vary depending on the level of sedation, your medical history, and how you respond to sedation. Most people of all ages respond well to nitrous oxide, which is considered the safest and least-invasive sedative.
This method of sedation is commonly used on children to help them feel relaxed and be more cooperative. As you increase the level of sedation in intensity, the associated risks increase. However, as long as you are receiving sedation from a highly trained, licensed, and experienced professional who has verified your medical history, you don’t have anything to worry about.
Your dentist will monitor you throughout your treatment to ensure that you have adequate oxygen levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. They will also be prepared to reverse the effects of sedation if any complications were to arise.
Not everyone is a good candidate for sedation and some methods of sedation may work better for you than others. This depends on your overall health, medications you are taking, your medical history, and if you are pregnant.
A good candidate is someone who is in good overall health and experiences dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, has low pain tolerance, or is unable to sit still through long procedures. This type of person would benefit from the effects of sedation and it is unlikely that it would affect them negatively.
However, if you have certain medical conditions, take prescription drugs, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need to speak with Dr. Bonner Morren to verify that sedation is safe for you. If you’re interested in dental sedation, contact us at Austin Dental Company today to schedule an appointment.