Patient comfort is always a concern and that is why we offer sedation dentistry in Mission Viejo. It is estimated that 7.5% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety. These irrational fears prevent patients from seeking dental treatment which can create more significant dental problems. For those patients who are fearful of dental treatment, we provide a few forms of sleep dentistry to help our patients relax and obtain the treatment they need. Currently we offer IV sedation, non-IV conscious sedation, oral sedation, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas). While we refer to these as “sedation or sleep dentistry” none of these methods involve actually putting a patient to sleep using general anesthesia. Tiredness can be a side effect, so we do require a patient to be accompanied by a driver to and from appointments depending on the method of sedation to be used.
As a sedation dentist in Mission Viejo, our goal is to provide gentle dentistry and address all oral healthcare concerns in a relaxed environment. Dr. Cadalso has been performing sleep dentistry for over 25 years and is licensed and certified in these methods of sedation to insure patient safety.
The Benefits of Choosing Sedation Dentistry:
Reduction of anxiety, and dental fear
Minimal side effects
Sometimes little to no memory of the procedure
Reduced and often no pain
ADA approved form of treatment
Which Sedative is Right For You?
Prior to sedation, Dr. Cadalso will discuss with you the various methods of sedation, possible side effects, and cost. He will also discuss with you the level of sedation you wish to achieve prior to determining which method is right for you. Below is a brief description of what each method entails, along with a breakdown of the different types of oral conscious sedation available.
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Intravenous sedation is a moderate type of sedation. Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure. Generally, IV sedation is used for shorter treatments. It is administered via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate. Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.
What Prescriptions Are Used in Oral Conscious Sedation?
Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.
Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:
Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.
Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties. A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.
Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety. It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life. Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.
Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used. It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.
If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact your local Mission Viejo sedation dentist, Dr. Cadalso.