Dental Sedation is a way to get the dentistry you need, if have dental anxiety, or dental phobia.
1. Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide can be administered safely to adults and children to relieve the stress associated with dental procedures. It is effective in reducing dental anxiety to the patient so that the dental work being done causes less stress and anxiety. This stress relief is completely reversible with oxygen at the end of the appointment. This allows patients to come in and receive dental work, and then, they can carry on with their day afterwards.
2. Level I Conscious Sedation
Conscious Sedation can be used to help relax patients who are more dental phobic. The benzodiazepines (e.g. Midazolam - Versed) can be safely administered in the office with monitoring. This will allow patients who might otherwise not be able to get care. These patients:
- take the medicine in the office 30-minutes before the procedure
- come in on an empty stomach
- are relaxed to the point that they are able to receive care
- will have somewhat of a fuzzy memory of the dental visit during which they were sedated
- will need a driver to drop them off and pick them up
- are expected to rest for the remainder of the day following the dental procedure
- are not being given general anesthesia, so, they will still have some awareness during the procedure
- generally report that they do not remember the procedure
- may fall asleep during the procedure, but, can be roused and still respond to verbal commands
- maintain their own airway.
I think Conscious Sedation has many advantages over General Anesthesia.
Midazolam (a benzodiazepine) for Conscious Sedation
4% Articaine with 1:100,000 epi (local anesthetic cartridge)
3. Local Anesthesia
Local Anesthetic is a very effective method of blocking pain during the dental procedure. Articaine (4%) with 1:100,000 epi is an incredible local anesthetic agent and is much more effective at establishing and maintaining a pain-free dental procedure than some of the older generation of anesthetics. It is noticeably better than Lidocaine (2%) 1:100,000 that was the predominating local anesthetic cartridge when I was finishing my education at UT School of Dentistry - Houston, TX. So, we use Articaine for most procedures, adding Bupivacaine (Marcaine) if working on tenacious wisdom teeth.