Does the thought of having your teeth cleaned make your entire body tense with fear? Would you rather endure the agony of a tooth ache than step foot in a dentist's office? You're not alone. A lot of people are so phobic about going to the dentist that they prefer not to have any treatment.

For people who avoid dentists like the plague, sedation dentistry may take away most of their anxiety. Sedation can be used for a variety of dental procedures. How it's used depends on the severity of the fear.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It's sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry," although that's not entirely accurate. Patients are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.

The levels of sedation used include:

  • Minimal sedation -- you are awake but relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation (formerly called "conscious sedation") -- you may slur your words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.
  • Deep sedation -- you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
  • General anesthesia -- you are completely unconscious.

What Types of Sedation Are Used at Alpha Dental?

The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation. You breathe nitrous oxide -- otherwise known as "laughing gas" -- combined with oxygen through a mask that's placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
  • Oral sedation. Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it's usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you'll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.


Benefits of Sedation Dentistry:

  • The sedative drugs help the patient to become free of stress and anxiety, reduce memory of the treatment, and make the dental appointment a much less unpleasant experience.
  • Sedation dentistry can transform dental visits to a relaxing experience, with the patient relieved from stress and fear.
  • Amnesia is one of the side effects of dental conscious sedation. After treatment, if you had been sedated, you remember very few or none of the details of the dental procedure. You will feel that the procedure lasted only a few minutes, even if it has lasted for several hours.
  • If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of.
  • Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary.

At Alpha Dental, we understand the anxiety and feelings of trepidation, anxiety and fear that people can experience at the dentist.  Thanks to our expertise and experience we are happy to offer oral sedation dentistry as a solution.