Does your idea of visiting the dentist remind you of a scene from “The Little Shop of Horrors?” If sitting in the dentist’s chair makes you nervous, there’s actually a type of dentistry perfect for you. Sedation dentistry can help relieve your anxiety during the sometimes stressful experience of having a dental procedure.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to allow patients to relax during dental procedures. Sometimes it is referred to as “sleep dentistry.” However, patients are usually awake during sedation dentistry, though some nap.

Sedation Dentistry Includes:

  • Minimal sedation: this allows you to be awake but relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation or conscious sedation: you’ll be awake for this as well, but you may not remember much about your experience.
  • Deep sedation: you are on the edge of consciousness, and may nap, but can be woken up.
  • General anesthesia: this means you are completely unconscious.

Types of Sedation Used in Sedation Dentistry

  • Nitrous oxide: Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, in inhaled through an oxygen mask. The gas helps you relax, but it wears off quickly. If this is the only sedative used during your procedure, you’ll be allowed to drive yourself home.
  • Oral sedation: Oral sedation is a type of anti-anxiety pill taken by mouth. Typically it is taken an hour prior to a dental procedure. The pill will make you drowsy but still conscious. Some people, who take oral sedatives before their dental procedure, are drowsy enough to reach a sleepy state and nap through their appointment.
  • IV sedation: Through this type of sedation, you receive sedative intravenously, which allows you to relax immediately.
  • General anesthesia: You will receive medications that make you almost completely unconscious or deeply asleep. General anesthesia will need to wear off before you can be awakened.

Dr. Wilhite’s Sedation Dentistry

At Dr. Wilhite’s office we use nitrous oxide and oral sedation to help our patients relax through their dental appointments. Although Dr. Wilhite does not use IV sedation, we bring in a specialist to administer the sedation if a patient feels they must have an IV to get through their procedure. Read more about our sedation dentistry here.