Sedation in Dentistry
Sedation dentistry alleviates the fear and apprehension surrounding a dental visit by using drugs to control anxiety. People who are sedated will be more relaxed, more willing to tolerate treatment and depending on the level of sedation (even if they do not fall asleep), likely will not remember the procedure at all – the drugs that Dr. Cichon uses cause profound relaxation.
Because patients who undergo sedation are conscious, they are able to breath on their own and respond to verbal commands. This, however, does not eliminate the need for careful and continuous monitoring with state-of-the-art equipment.
Type of Sedative Options Available
The team at Southport Dental Care is trained in a variety of sedation techniques to ensure that our patients are relaxed and comfortable throughout their entire dental procedure. Depending on your level of anxiety and health history, our clinicians may recommend to you one of 4 different anaesthetic techniques.
- Oral Sedation
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
- Combination Oral and Nitrous Oxide Sedation
- IV sedation
Oral medications are very appropriate for patients who are mildly anxious or who get restless during longer or more invasive procedures. Even though the level of sedation is mild, a person who takes an oral sedative prior to a dental visit is considered legally impaired. Driving home after being administered an oral sedative is prohibited and any important decisions should be postponed until the following day.
Nitrous Oxide is a nice sedative option for someone who is mildly anxious but who can’t afford any down time after their dental appointment has concluded. Those patients who don’t have someone available to drive them to and from the dental office OR are not willing to take time off after their appointment to recover from the effects of the medication AND who want to enjoy the benefits of a calm, relaxing and anxiety free appointment, may wish to consider Nitrous Oxide sedation.
For moderate anxiety, especially for those who hate the kind of needles associated with blood tests, a combination of oral medication and nitrous oxide gas works well to cause relaxation, some amnesia and time telescoping while avoiding an iv line placement. Again, because of the lingering effects of the oral drugs, people choosing this form of sedation will require and escort to take them home and monitor them for a short time after their visit is over.
IV sedation is the technique of choice for those wishing to remember very little or nothing of their dental experience, who want to be profoundly relaxed, and who are able to have someone who knows and cares about them monitor them post-operatively for several hours until they are able to shake the effects of the administered medications. This form of sedation is arguably the most profound and predictable form of sedation available in a private office setting.
WHY IV SEDATION RATHER THAN A “SLEEPING PILL”?
When sedative medications are given intravenously (directly into the blood supply) it is much easier to achieve a rapid and predictable level of sedation. If the initial dose of sedative drug is insufficient to achieve a relaxed and comfortable state, more medication can be given with almost instant results.
During IV sedation we titrate the dose of drugs to the patient’s needs. This means that we can give as much or as little medication as is required to achieve a desired level of relaxation. When a drug is given orally there is some guesswork involved in determining what the correct dose of the drug should be to obtain the ideal desired result. If not enough of the sedative is given, you may need to wait for 30-45 minutes until more medicine can be ingested and absorbed by your body. The drugs we use are very safe and their effects are very predictable and totally reversible. This is the safest form of drug administration. It is also the most predictable and effective form of conscious sedation.
You may not be scared of your visit to the dentist, but you may know someone who is. If you know somebody that may be a good candidate for sedation please pass on Dr. Cichon’s name to them – he would love to help them out!
Dr Cichon is a trained hospital dentist who has performed over 1200 iv-conscious sedation procedures since 1998 in both private practice and hospital settings.
It is true that all anaesthetic procedures carry with them some degree of risk; however, to minimize this risk, state-of-the-art hospital grade monitors are used to continuously evaluate a patient’s pulse, degree of oxygenation, blood pressure, heart rate and airway patency.
Dr. Cichon and his team are trained in advanced resuscitation procedures and an on-site defibrillator is present in the office to manage any significant unexpected problems.