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Types of Sedation Dentistry

By Patrick Casey on April 01, 2012

Patients who are nervous or anxious about going to the dentist may be interested in the benefits of sedation dentistry. Sedation techniques put patients into a relaxed state for treatment, and may be the solution for patients who have dental anxiety or phobia.

Sedation dentistry does not necessarily mean the patient is unconscious or under general anesthesia. In fact, in most cases, a patient undergoing sedation dentistry is in a sleep-like condition but conscious. The patient remembers very little about the procedure afterwards and feels little or no discomfort during it.

The medications generally used in sedation dentistry belong to the family of prescription drugs called benzodiazepines. Most patients know them by their brand names -- Valium, Halcion, Ativan, and Xanax.  Benzodiazepines have anti-anxiety properties and can be used in different doses to achieve various degrees of sedation. They are generally safe when used as directed by your dentist.

A Montreal cosmetic dentist from our office, either Dr. Charles Casey or Patrick Casey, is skilled and experienced in the use of sedation dentistry. They can treat patients who have dental phobia or are unable to control their physical movements during treatment. The doctors will evaluate your individual medical condition and if sedation dentistry is a viable solution in your case, recommend a form of sedation dentistry to achieve the best results.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

There are four main types of sedation used in dentistry today. The method of sedation chosen depends on various factors, such as the anxiety level or phobia of the patient, the dental treatment to be done and the length of time the patient will need to be sedated to accomplish the work.

The four types of dental sedation are:

  • Oral sedatives: Medications such as diazepam can be given to a patient right before a dental procedure or the night before the appointment to relax the patient’s anxiety. The timing of the administration of the sedatives will depend on the patient’s level of anxiety about the procedure. Because oral sedatives do not provide pain relief, expect your dentist to also administer an injection of local anesthetic in the area of the mouth to be worked on.
  • Intravenous sedation: This method of sedation dentistry involves placing a catheter in a vein and delivering the medication intravenously (directly into a vein). As is the case with oral sedatives, the drugs administered in intravenous sedation do not provide pain relief, so a dentist generally will deliver a local numbing shot of local anesthesia once the patient has been sedated.
  • Nitrous Oxide Sedation: This is the form of sedation dentistry is commonly called “laughing gas.” Nitrous oxide is inhaled by the patient just before a dental procedure begins to induce a state of relaxation. A local anesthetic is then given along with nitrous oxide sedation to reduce or eliminate pain.
  • General Anesthesia: This method of dental sedation renders the patient unconscious. This means that unlike in the other sedation methods, the patient is not in a sleep-like state and is entirely unaware of the dental work being performed.

Contact Our Montreal Cosmetic Dentist

Sedation dentistry makes a trip to the dentist more comfortable for patients who have dental phobia. The different types of sedation dentistry mean there are ways to achieve the best results, no matter the level of the patient’s anxiety. If you are considering sedation dentistry, we encourage you to contact Drs. Charles or Patrick Casey to schedule a consultation. Our experienced dentists can go over the different types of sedation methods available and help you choose the best type for you.

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Westmount Office

4695 Rue Sherbrooke O
Westmount, QC H3Z 1G2

Open Today 7:00am - 3:00pm

More Info Directions (514) 937-6558