What Does Sedation Dentistry Feel Like?

If sedation dental care is recommended, you might wonder what does sedation dentistry feel like? 

Sedation dentistry feels relaxing. With sedation, you’ll likely nap through your dental visit.  After care, you are alert enough to walk out of our office with your companion. Then, you go home and rest comfortably. You can plan to be back to your normal routine the next day. 

Sedation dentistry is usually recommended for two reasons. First, levels of dental fear or anxiety are high for some people. Sedation dentistry can help you rest through treatment and get the care you need. Second, some treatments can be lengthy. For longer treatment visits, Dr. Frahm may recommend sedation care. It’s important to understand being sedated in our office is not like going under anesthesia for hospital surgery. 

You might ask, what does dental sedation feel like?

The short answer is that it depends on the type of sedation dentistry you’re having. Read below and learn how the different forms of sedation make you feel.

Dental Sedation Explained

Sedation dentistry is an effective way to minimize any anxiety or discomfort you may feel during dental treatment. Sedation dentistry comes in several forms. 

Your primary options for sedation dental care are likely: 

  • Mild: Nitrous oxide helps you relax through treatment. Nitrous oxide is commonly known as laughing gas.  It is the mildest sedative we provide. 
  • Medium: Medication, in pill form, can be prescribed by Dr. Frahm before your treatment visit.  With sedation medication, you will need a companion to drive and accompany you to and from your dental visit.
  • Strong: Intravenous sedatives are sometimes recommended to you if you struggle with significant anxiety, PTSD or have a medical condition that makes IV sedation a good choice. 

During sedation dental care, you will likely drift into a twilight state. You won’t remember much about your dental visit. In fact, many people say they have short term amnesia after sedation dental care. Usually, it’s considered a plus. 

When thinking about your sedation experience, it can be helpful to know the levels of sedation relaxation. Depending in your needs for care, and response to sedation medication, you can expect to enter one or more of these states of rest: 

  • Minimal sedation: Awake but relaxed. You can still respond to Dr. Frahm.
  • Moderate sedation: Slurring of words, not much is remembered.
  • Deep sedation: On the edge of consciousness to being unconscious. 

During your sedation care visit, our team of trained health care professionals monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Throughout your visit, we make sure you are safe and resting comfortably.

Types of Dental Sedation and How They Feel

When you ask, what does dental sedation feel like? The answer is it depends. The type of sedation you receive, duration of your visit, and preferences for care drive your experience.

Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas is the least invasive, and most common, type. Most of us experience no side effects and can use it safely. Laughing gas is delivered via a mask that covers your nose. It is inhaled. The gas can be flavored. Many dentists give patients a choice of the type of scent they prefer. With laughing gas, you may become silly, giggly and have a sense of euphoria. The effects wear off almost immediately. After care, it helps to rest and recover for a few minutes before you leave our dental office. Unless otherwise directed, you should be able to drive yourself to and from your dental visit.

Oral Sedation

Also known as oral conscious sedation, is a sedative given in pill form. Usually, Dr. Frahm prescribes two doses. You take the first dose before your visit. Dr. Frahm may recommend a second dose once you arrive at our office for care. Oral conscious sedation is anti-anxiety medication that helps you deeply relax. You will probably feel drowsy when you take oral sedation medication but remain awake and conscious. 

Side effects of oral sedation include grogginess, and a dream state feeling. It can take a several hours for oral conscious sedation to wear off. Due to the time it takes to recover from sedation, you need someone to drive you to and from care. It is best if a companion can be present while you rest.  Dr. Frahm calls a few hours after your sedation dentistry visit to check on you.

IV Sedation

For people with severe dental anxiety, IV sedation is often recommended. It is also administered to patients who are undergoing dental surgeries. The medication is delivered through an intravenous needle in the arm and the dose is monitored throughout the procedure.

Slurred speech and memory loss are very common for IV sedation and will likely result in forgetting the entire procedure. The sedation is at a much deeper level than the other methods and keeps most patients on the edge of consciousness.

All IV sedation patients must have a companion to drive them to and from care, and stay with them after care for about 24 hours. 

Safe Dentistry for You

The type of sedation you choose depends on what ensures a safe and comfortable dental visit, and your overall health. As you can see, there are different ways you can feel depending on your needs. A sedative will make you feel drowsy but relaxed, have you feel like you’re in a dream, or forget the whole procedure entirely. 

Dr. Frahm is a gentle dentist, who created an office space design for calm and comfort. To put you at ease, we offer both oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide sedation dentistry. Dr. Frahm always discusses your options with you before treatment begins. Please schedule an appointment via our online webform or give us a call at 831-372-8011 to discuss your options.

To read more about Sedation Dentistry check out this other article on our website: What is sedation dentistry? | Dr. Frahm 

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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