Sedation Dentistry


Woman feels like sleeping on clouds during dental procedure at Cooley Smiles
At Cooley Smiles, we want to provide a comfortable and pleasant experience. We know that some patients feel uncomfortable when they think about a trip to the dentist. In fact, many people let their dental phobias prevent them from receiving the oral health care they need to avoid problems with their teeth and gums. If you have anxiety or fears associated with dental care, we can help. We offer sedation dentistry to provide an experience that is anxiety-free!

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves the use of medications that help you relax during dental procedures. It is also sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although this is a misnomer. Most patients are awake during sedation dentistry, but in some cases, they may not remember the procedure.

There are four levels of sedation, with the first being minimal sedation. During minimal sedation, you are awake and alert, but very relaxed. Moderate sedation, also known as conscious sedation, may cause you to slur your words and produces an amnesic effect. For more serious procedures, such as oral surgery, we typically recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia. During deep sedation, you are on the edge of consciousness, but you can still react and be awakened. During general anesthesia, you are completely asleep.

Are You a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

There are several factors, such as physical and mental conditions, which must be taken into consideration before we proceed with sedation dentistry. Conditions such as cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses should be addressed before sedation. In some instances, we may need to receive clearance from your general physician.

Sedation is most suitable for patients who have real fears and anxieties that would otherwise prevent them from going to the dentist. Sedation may also be appropriate for patients with a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, a strong gag reflex, and a need for a significant amount of dental procedures. Aaron Cooley, DDS may also recommend sedation dentistry for a patient who has trouble staying still in the dentist’s chair.

Types of Sedation

The four types of sedation include:
•  Nitrous Oxide. Also referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is probably the most common form of sedation, and the most well-known. Nitrous oxide is used to alleviate pain and reduce your anxiety. Typically, nitrous oxide is used in conjunction with local anesthetic, which numbs your mouth and eliminates discomfort. It is one of the safest and most effective ways to eliminate anxiety.
•  Enteral Sedation. This is the next most common form of sedation. Enteral sedation is taken orally and comes in the form of a pill or liquid. You may still be awake and alert, but you should have no feelings of nervousness.
•  IV Sedation. Intravenous sedation is administered directly into the veins to provide deeper sedation. Although you are still awake, most patients have little or no memory of the procedure. We reserve IV sedation for more complex and lengthy procedures.
•  General Anesthesia. General anesthesia will put you to sleep for the entirety of the procedure. This type of sedation is also reserved for more serious procedures.

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

If you would like to learn more about how sedation dentistry can help you, call (425) 249-3509, and schedule your appointment today!

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