Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry or oral conscious sedation is quickly becoming the standard of care for patients in this day and time. Physicians have routinely sedated patients for many years for a variety of procedures which are often times less invasive than working in a patient’s mouth. Although countless patients would benefit from sedation dentistry techniques, many dentists do not pursue the additional education to become certified to provide sedation for their patients. Fortunately, you have the benefit of being able to receive sedation treatment in the safe, comfortable environment of our offices with the technology and expertise to achieve the smile and good dental health you deserve. Sedation dentistry can be used for any and all dental procedures from something simple like a cleaning or in office bleaching all the way to more involved procedures such as complete smile makeovers involving implants, crowns, and veneers. A great number of patients who are not apprehensive about dental treatment choose to be sedated for procedures such as a root canal or a crown simply because the time for the procedure passes quickly and they are more comfortable. Many times patients postpone or even try to ignore dental issues because they are anxious or fearful about the dental treatment to address the problem. Oral conscious sedation allows patients to complete their dental treatment before minor issues become large dental problems in an environment free from the stress and pain many associate with dental treatment. Whether you have been postponing needed dental treatment for years or just want to be more comfortable during a dental procedure, oral conscious sedation will allow you to accomplish good oral health and make you another patient who appreciates the benefits of sedation dentistry.


Aspects of oral conscious sedation that appeal to many patients are:

  1. Oral medication is used so there are no IV needles involved in the sedation process. Local anesthetic is still used to make sure the patient is completely numb but it is administered AFTER the patient is sedated. This is especially comforting for those who have phobias or fear of needles because they are relaxed and rarely recall any aspect of the anesthetic procedures.
  2. Appointment lengths are longer allowing much more or sometimes all of the dental treatment to be accomplished during the visit. The sedation aspect makes the appointment seemingly pass quickly from the patient aspect. This can also be helpful to those with very limited time or busy schedules who do not have time for multiple appointments over various days and want all treatment accomplished at once.
  3. Patients who have had trouble being completely numb in the past often find sedation helps them achieve profound anesthesia and are comfortable and relaxed during the dental treatment.
  4. Patients who have chronic on consistent jaw pain that makes it difficult to stay open during dental treatment or develop pain shortly after the procedure starts, report sedation helps to control or alleviate this issue and allows them to have the dental treatment performed
  5. Patients who have back, neck, or other physical problems and find it difficult to be in a dental chair for treatment
  6. Patients who arenervous, anxious, or simply do not like the sounds, sensations, smells, and tastes related to dental treatment. Studies estimate that at least 30% and possibly up to 50% of patients are afraid to go to the dentist or just simply dislike the environment related to dental treatment. This means that most people would prefer to be sedated during their dental treatment. You are probably one of these individuals yourself.


Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

The concept of oral conscious sedation has been around for many years and has been used in literally hundreds of thousands, even into the millions of cases. The predominant medication used is Triazolam which is also used by many nightly as a sleeping pill. Additional training is required for certification to administer and perform oral conscious sedation and sedation dentistry. The curriculum for this training is reviewed and approved by the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, state dental regulatory boards throughout the nation, and more specifically, the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners. Our oral sedation providers are certified by the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and continue to pursue additional training to study the latest advances in the field of sedation dentistry. Patients are constantly monitored during all aspects of the sedation dental appointment by equipment designed to evaluate the patient’s blood pressure, pulse rate, levels of oxygen saturation in the blood, and other important information similar to how the patient would be monitored in a hospital setting. During the evaluation and treatment planning appointment, the patient’s medical history is thoroughly reviewed and the sedation procedure explained fully. Any questions are answered clearly and written information is also provided.


What Are The Effects of the Sedation Medication?

The medications commonly used in sedation dentistry produce an effect known as retrograde amnesia which means the patient has little or no recollection of the dental treatment. The medication gradually cycles through the body following the sedation appointment so the patient is released into the care of a trusted family member, friend, or companion to take them home and stay with them for the remainder of the day. Many patients report sleeping most of the day following the dental appointment. Often patients find they wake with little pain or soreness and require less pain medication than previous experiences.