What to Expect

Sedation dentistry combines modern dental techniques with medications that cause various levels of sedation. Drugs used for pain control and that induce sleepiness and amnesia are given before and during the dental procedure. This makes it possible for people who are scared of the dentist and the dental environment to comfortably receive dental care. Also, it is useful for people who are not normally afraid of the dentist, but due to the amount of work and discomfort of certain procedures, they would feel better using sedative drugs.

At the consultation visit, we will review your medical and dental histories.  Together, we will determine your oral health goals and assess the appropriate level of sedation that will be needed to accomplish those goals.  We will also review any radiograph images together to identify an major or obvious issues that should be addressed.  If you don’t have any recent radiographic images, we will take a complementary panoramic radiograph at this visit.

Depending on your needs, you will be offered oral, intravenous (I.V.), or both options for your dental procedure.  The form of sedation that we offer is called conscious sedation. This is the same type of sedation that most people experience when they have “twilight” sedation, usually during minor surgical and invasive diagnostic procedures. Its use in the dental setting has an incredible safety record, and medically speaking, most people who can undergo routine dental care can also receive conscious sedation very safely.

Oral sedation is wonderful for longer and restorative appointments, which are not expected to be less than moderately invasive or painful. Sedative and antihistamine pills are administered approximately 1 hour prior to the appointment.  The effects are usually felt within 45 minutes of taking the pills, and amnesia of the visit is usually quite profound soon after.  The benefits of oral sedation are the decreased cost and ease of administration.  The downside is that the medications must be absorbed through your intestines, which may decrease their effectiveness due to metabolism by the liver.  Also, for shorter appointments, the sedation may be prolonged and require a longer period of observation in the office prior to dismissal.

I.V. sedation is the most predictable form of sedation, and is most useful for procedures that will be more invasive or painful, such as surgical procedures, extractions, implant surgery, gum surgery, and root canal therapy.  A small catheter is placed into a vein in the arm or leg, and medications are delivered directly into the blood.  The main benefit of I.V sedation is the ability to titrate the medications until the desired level of sedation is attained with the effects of the medications being felt in less than a minute from the time of administration.  Another important benefit is that drugs that may be used to reverse the effects of the sedation can be quickly administered in the case of an emergency.  Also, the level of sedation can be more consistently maintained over the duration of the appointment.  The main downside to I.V. sedation is the increased cost, which is due to the expertise and compliance costs for maintaining the necessary equipment, medications, and training in a safe and effective manner.

Sedation dentistry is not for everybody, and your medical history may preclude you from receiving it. There is also a separate sedation fee associated with all forms of sedation that we offer. However, we are proud to be able to offer this valuable service at a much lower cost than what is charged by other anesthesia providers.

We treat hundreds of sedation cases per year, more than most dentists will treat in their entire career. Having performed thousands of sedation procedures over the years, you can rest assured that you will be taken care of in a compassionate and competent manner.

If you’re ready to smile again, please call us at (630) 466-7445 and request your free sedation consultation.