Sedation Dentist Los Angeles
Sedation dentistry offers patients the opportunity to relax and have their dental procedures performed in a safe, comfortable environment with reduced pain and anxiety and little or no memory afterward of the procedures. During sedation dentistry, your dentist will give you a sedative, a medicine that affects your central nervous system.
Sedation dentistry may be ideal for certain patients, including:
- Children who are anxious/reluctant to cooperate with dental procedures
- People with dental phobia, anxiety, or fear of the dentist
- People with special needs – for example, some people with Down syndrome – who have difficulty cooperating with dental procedures
- People with conditions that affect movement control – for example, Cerebral Palsy
- People who need complex/extensive/invasive dental work done
- People with reduced sensitivity to local anesthetic, making it difficult for them to feel numbness
- People with TMJ/jaw disorders that make it difficult for them to keep their mouths open for long periods
Sedation dentistry may not be appropriate for patients taking certain medications. If your dentist recommends sedation dentistry for you, he or she will ask you for a list of all the medications you take so he or she can check whether your medications are compatible with sedation dentistry.
Conscious Sedation (Sleep Dentistry)
Although it is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” conscious sedation doesn’t actually allow you to sleep. (General anesthesia, used in rare instances for dental procedures, could be called “sleep dentistry.”) While under the influence of the medication your dentist gives you, you’ll be awake and able to answer questions and respond to requests. You’ll be in a state of deep relaxation with reduced awareness and without pain.
The medications used in sedation dentistry can be given in several ways. Nitrous oxide is a gas the patient inhales. Other medications can be taken orally or given intravenously (in an IV). IV sedation offers the deepest level of conscious sedation, but is typically offered only for lengthy and invasive dental procedures. Relatively few dentists other than oral surgeons offer IV sedation.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” is the most commonly used medication for conscious sedation dentistry. The patient breathes a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask that fits over the nose. Nitrous oxide has few side effects and wears off a very short time after the patient begins to breathe normal air. This method of conscious sedation is considered very safe, and patients are able to drive themselves home after being treated with this method.
Comfort Anesthesia (No Needles!)
In addition to nitrous oxide, another form of conscious sedation that requires no needles is oral medication. The dentist prescribes a pill for the patient to take either the night before or several hours before the dental appointment. If you choose oral sedation, you will not be able to drive yourself to your dental appointment and must have another person with you. It may take several hours after the dental appointment for the full effect of oral sedation to wear off.
Ask your Los Angeles dentist which type of conscious sedation might be the most appropriate for you.