At its most superficial level, Sedation Dentistry uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Then there are two additional levels. The first one is called oral conscious sedation. It utilizes a medication called Triazolam. It is a small blue pill taken about 1 hour before your visit.
This tablet has been prescribed over 10 million times per year, by physicians, for patient's use at home. The drug has almost no side effects or interaction with other medicines you may currently be taking. Sedation dentistry allows you to be sedated just enough to be unaware of the treatment, as if you were relaxing. It's called "sleep dentistry" and it may well be one of the best advances ever made towards truly pain-free, anxiety-free procedures.
After an initial consultation with a dentist you'll take the medication just before your visit. You'll need a friend to help transport you to and from the office safely. When you arrive for your appointment you'll be awake, but drowsy. Most important, you'll be relaxed and anxiety free. While you're in the chair, the dentist and sleep dentistry team monitors you closely. You won't be unconscious, you'll just enjoy a soothing mental and emotional "distance" from the dental activities.
Next thing you'll know, your sedation dentist is telling you the procedure is complete and it is time to go home. So if you have sensitive teeth, a fear of dentists, have a bad gag reflex, hate needles, or have limited time to spend on dental care at the dentist, sleep sedation dentistry procedures can help you. With sedation, Regents Dental Group can restore sore gums to good dental health, fix a chipped tooth, replace crowns or dentures, whiten yellow or stained teeth, and more.
The second level, which takes you to a deeper level of sedation is called IV (Intravenous) conscious sedation. It allows patients to interact with the dentist in a sleep-like state where they feel no pain and lose subsequent conscious memory of the procedure.
During IV sedation, the dentist uses a combination of anti-anxiety drugs to place the patient in a deeply relaxed state of consicousness that allows the patient some limited interaction with the dentist but inhibits sensation. The dentist delivers the IV Sedation medication through a very small and thin needle wrapped in a soft plastic tube that goes into a vein in either the arm or the back of the hand. After insertion, the needle is removed and the plastic tube remains, allowing the drugs to access the bloodstream. During this time the dentist talks to the patient to determine the appropriate sedation level. Patients often report being in a fog-like state where they feel nothing and forget details of the procedure.
Most drugs used by dentists for IV Sedation fall into the anti-anxiety category - the most common being Benzodiazepine ("benzo"), Midazolam, and Diazepam. The majority of dental professionals prefer Midazolam for IV Sedation because it purges itself from the system more rapidly than other drugs. Some dentists also use Valium, but it remains in the system longer and can produce a burning sensation when first entering the veins. For sensitive patients, some dentists will mix a local anesthetic with a Diazepam IV emulsion that the drug manufacturer claims makes IV Sedation easier on vein tissue. Diazepam enters the bloodstream at 1mg per minute, while Midazolam enters the bloodstream at 1mg every two minutes due to its additional strength. Each patient is different, so the dentist carefully considers which drug is the best choice in each individual case of IV Sedation. Additionally, the dentist will monitor both patient response to the drug and vital life signs. Once the patient reaches the correct level of sedation, the drug is turned off, but the Venflon remains in place so that if necessary, the dentist can administer additional amounts. In the unlikely event of a rare emergency, the dentist an also use the Venflon to treat the patient with an appropriate counteragent.
Also General Anesthesia is offered with the help of one of three anesthesiologists who regularly visit our office.