Types of Sedation Dentistry

Apr 10, 2011 @ 11:58 PM — by Steven Balloch, DDS

Many people feel nervous about going to the dentist. A little bit of nervousness is natural and understandable. Others, however, experience an extreme degree of dental anxiety, so much so that they are unable to remain relatively relaxed while undergoing dental treatment. This fear may be so persuasive that these people will avoid going to the dentist for years and years.

Our Hartford cosmetic dentist, Dr. Steven M. Balloch and his and the team strive to make each patient’s visit as relaxing and stress free as possible, and because everyone is different and has different needs, we offer several forms of sedation. From simple cleanings to complex full mouth reconstruction we can offer the appropriate level of sedation.

A dental sedation method you’re probably aware of is nitrous oxide. Also called laughing gas, nitrous oxide is administered by a breathing mask and will help you remain relaxed during treatment. It is used primarily for shorter visits like cleanings. Usually the patient can drive themselves home.

Oral sedation is another method of dental sedation. It is good for patients who are anxious but not truly fearful or phobic. You will be awake but will feel very relaxed, and time is distorted so that longer appointments will feel like shorter ones. It involves taking an oral sedative, usually in pill form, roughly half an hour to an hour before a scheduled dental visit, and is good for fillings, crowns, and simpler surgeries of up to a few hours duration. With oral sedation someone must drive the patient to and from the office, and recovery time can be several hours.

Intravenous (IV) sedation, or "sleep dentistry", is another option to consider. It is administered by a dentist anesthetist in our office with state of the art monitoring equipment. In this form of sedation an intravenous line is established and different medicines are administered to put the patient into various levels of sleep. Medicines to relax the muscles (TMJ patients), reduce salivary flow and manage pain control can also be used. It is good for more lengthy and complex procedures like full mouth reconstruction. IV sedation typically requires the rest of the day and night to recover, so someone must drive you home and stay with you during the recovery process. Dr. Balloch and his team have provided sleep dentistry for hundreds of patients since 1985.

Sometimes it will be necessary to use general anesthesia on a patient. While the other options above will leave the patient conscious and aware of his or her surroundings, general sedation will render the patient totally unconscious for the duration of treatment. Dr. Balloch does not use general anesthesia but can refer you to someone who does.

If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry methods and how they can be helpful for you and your needs, be sure to contact our Glastonbury, CT cosmetic dentistry office today. We’d be happy to discuss these matters with you in more detail.

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