Understanding Sedation Dentistry: What You Need to Know

A woman waking up from a restful sleep.

Sedation dentistry is easy to understand. Essentially, sedation dentistry helps you rest through dental treatment. Dental sedation is safe and easy for most people. Dr. Frahm offers three types of dental sedation to help manage fear and anxiety.

The most common form of sedation is nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is commonly called laughing gas. It wears off several minutes after the supply is removed.

Oral conscious sedation is a stronger form of sedation care. Dr. Frahm prescribes oral conscious sedation medication. The medication is taken prior to your dental visit. A second dose of sedation medication may be administered at our practice. With oral conscious sedation, you will need a companion to accompany you to your visit and drive you home.

For people who do not respond to other forms of sedation care, Dr. Frahm may recommend I.V. Sedation. I.V. sedation is administered by clinical care providers with anesthesia training. I.V. sedation dental treatment requires a companion to accompany you to your visit and take you home. They should stay with you until the next day.

After dental treatment, Dr. Frahm will call you to follow up and see how you are doing.

Dental Anxiety is Real.

Nearly half of all Americans experience at least some dental anxiety.

Dental anxiety comes in many shapes and forms. Some people are fearful of major dental procedures. Others simply don’t like any reason to be in the dentist’s chair. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Dr. Frahm can help you alleviate your fear and anxiety with sedation dentistry.

Who Should Get Sedation Dentistry?

If you are very fearful of an upcoming dental appointment, you’re a candidate for sedation dentistry. Some of the reasons people opt for sedation dentistry are:

  • You had a difficult dental experience earlier in life.
  • You feel very uncomfortable having other people so close to your face.
  • You need to be in the dentist’s chair a long time for a major procedure.
  • You have sensitive teeth.
  • It’s hard for you to sit still during treatment.
  • You have a bad gag reflex.
  • You live with trauma-related symptoms or experience PTSD.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry uses medication to induce relaxation. Dental sedation methods are designed leave you conscious, in a resting state, without discomfort. And of course, Dr. Frahm uses local anesthetic to numb areas for treatment.

The types of sedation dentistry include:

  • Minimal sedation with nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is administered through a mask that is placed over your nose. It’s likely you’ll feel awake but relaxed. The effects tend to wear off quickly. You may be able to drive yourself home afterwards.
  • Moderate oral sedation is also called oral conscious sedation. It is induced with a pill taken about an hour before treatment. It’s a type of Valium that makes you feel relaxed and a little sleepy. You rest in a twilight-state during care. Our team of dental professionals monitors your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen intake throughout the treatment process. When care is complete, we wake you to go home. We help you out to ride home. A companion will need to drive you to and from care. It’s best if they stay with you at home for a few hours after, as well. Dr. Frahm will call in the evening to see how you are feeling.
  • I.V. Sedation is recommended for oral surgeries and for patients who do not respond to other forms of sedation care. I.V. sedation is Valium-like medication administered intravenously. You will be conscious and feel relaxed during treatment. You will be able to respond to questions, but you won’t remember much. This type of sedation requires that you fast before the procedure. You will need a companion to accompany you to your care visit. They will need to drive you to and from care and stay with you while you rest afterwards. Dr. Frahm will call a few hours after care to check on your condition.

Holistic Dentistry’s Role in Reducing Stress

Dr. Frahm is an expert in both minimal sedation with nitrous oxide and oral sedation dentistry. She has completed rigorous, post-doctoral training with the Doctors for Oral Conscious Sedation Education organization and she is Oral Conscious Sedation (OCS) certified.

In advance of your visit, Dr. Frahm discusses your anxiety level with you. Together, you will decide the ways in which she can provide comfortable care during your next visit.

Our office is designed with you in mind. With amenities like organic aroma therapy, neck pillows and cozy blankets, your comfort is our priority.

For more information about sedation dentistry, read What is sedation dentistry and Why sedation dentistry is wonderful.

If you have a fear of dental work, you are not alone. Dr. Frahm will carefully discuss your needs with you to determine which form of sedation care works best for you. As always, our holistic approach to dental care keeps your long-term wellness in mind. Contact Dr. Frahm today at 831-372-8011.

About Dr. Frahm

Dr. Frahm received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry in 2003. She completes more than 100 hours of postdoctoral training each year; earning recognition from dental experts around the country for her knowledge in the areas of cosmetic, general and restorative dentistry. Dr. Frahm is committed to providing you with excellent, comprehensive dental care. Dr. Frahm uses advanced dental techniques and technology to ensure your comfort and lasting results.

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