dental assisting giving nitrous oxide to child

What is Conscious Oral Sedation Dentistry?

Team Sedation

Does the idea of going to the dentist, especially to have a procedure that is more complex than just a general cleaning, cause you anxiety and fear? If so, you’re not alone. It is estimated that 36% of the population suffers from dental anxiety. It can cause patients to avoid seeking dental treatment when they need it, resulting in severe dental issues that only worsen as time goes on. 

What can be done about it? How can patients get the dental care they need if they’re too afraid to go to the dentist?

Sedation Dentistry

When the situation calls for it, sedation dentistry may be used to help you feel more comfortable getting the procedure you need. There are various forms of sedation with varying degrees of consciousness, such as:

  • Nitrous Oxide. Known as “laughing gas” because it does have that effect on some people, nitrous oxide is a gas you breathe through your nose that helps you feel more relaxed during dental procedures. 
  • Conscious Oral Sedation. This option combines an oral sedative with nitrous oxide so that you are awake but relaxed. There is no IV required for this sedation method. 
  • IV Sedation. For longer procedures, sometimes IV sedation is recommended to put you into a deeper state of sedation. You may feel as if they are asleep, but you are still responsive. You won’t remember much from your procedure afterwards. 
  • General Anesthesia. This is complete unconsciousness. When complex dental surgery needs to be done, this method will be used to render you completely unconscious. You will even need breathing assistance with this method. 

      The various forms of sedation dentistry have their place for different types of procedures. But for most people with dental anxiety, fear of needles is a large part of their anxiety. This is why conscious sedation is often a great option because you won’t need needles to be sedated. Here’s how it works.

      The Process of Conscious Sedation

      To achieve conscious sedation, you may be provided Nitrous Oxide gas (“Laughing Gas’) or an oral sedative pill to achieve relaxation.  With nitrous oxide, a mask is worn so that you inhale the gas to make you more relaxed.  This will address any significant anxiety you may have before the procedure starts. The relaxation effects wear off after the procedure as soon as the gas is removed.  You can drive home and function normally after the procedure.

      With oral sedation, also known as Enteral Sedation, the medication is given via a pill, crushed and put onto the floor of your mouth.  The effects are deeper and long-lasting.  Once the treatment is completed, you will need someone to drive you home and you are not allowed to drive or any other actions as the effects linger . 

      You will be conscious and aware of what is going on for the most part, but you may forget a lot about the procedure afterwards. These sedation options are the least invasive and makes patients with dental anxiety feel comfortable, especially because no needles are required to achieve sedation.

      Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry Offers Sedation Dentistry

      If you have severe dental anxiety that prevents you from getting the dental care you need, Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry can help you. We offer a range of sedation options to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Dr. Gordon specializes in conscious oral sedation, being one of the first in the state of New Jersey to be certified in this form of sedation dentistry. 

      We believe that all patients deserve dental care without fear and anxiety. We are compassionate and understanding of your fears, knowing that for you, this is not just something you can get over or brave your way through. Dental anxiety is very real, and we are here to help. 

      Call today to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations:

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      We look forward to helping you get the dental care you need in a relaxed, safe environment.