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What is sedation dentistry?

Many dental patients find that sedation dentistry is an effective way to minimize discomfort and anxiety during dental procedures. Also called “twilight sleep,” sedation dentistry creates a state of short-term amnesia and insensitivity to pain, without losing consciousness.

Sedation dentistry comes in three forms:

  1. Pills
  2. Gas
  3. Intravenous sedatives

Let’s review the differences to find out how sedation dentistry works and what your options are.

1. Pills and Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation puts you in an extreme state of relaxation. About an hour before your dental treatment, you’ll take a pill that will help reduce stress. With oral conscious sedation you’ll be more comfortable during your visit and you’ll still be able to answer questions, but you won’t have a strong memory of the procedure.

Oral conscious sedation is an extremely effective sedation option for many patients. Dr. Frahm has completed rigorous training to be certified by the Doctors for Oral Conscious Sedation.

What medication is used for oral conscious sedation?

There are a few effective medicines that are prescribed for oral conscious sedation. The most commonly used for adults are Lorazepam, Triazolam and Zaleplon, which either induce drowsiness and / or minimize anxiety.

2. Conscious sedation with nitrous oxide

Probably the most well-known form of sedation is the use of nitrous oxide. Also called laughing gas, it is combined with pure oxygen to induce a feeling of relaxation and well-being during treatment. It is the mildest form of sedation and creates a pleasant feeling of euphoria. The gas wears off immediately after treatment. We ask patients to sit and rest for five to 10 minutes, before driving themselves home. Nitrous oxide has no lasting effects.

3. Intravenous conscious sedation

Another way that dentists administer medicines for conscious sedation is through an IV. Unlike general anesthesia which induces complete unconsciousness, intravenous conscious sedation allows patients to respond yet feel no pain.

What medication is used for intravenous conscious sedation?

The most commonly used medicines are Midazolam, Propofol, Ketamine and Dexmedetomidine. Each take effect within a few minutes to induce sleepiness.

Because many drugs run the risk of side effects, our care team is always on hand to monitor your blood pressure, oxygen intake and heart rate to make sure you are calm and well taken care of during your procedure.

Can you drive after sedation dentistry?

Each of the types of conscious sedation takes you into different levels of relaxation. Nitrous oxide wears off immediately after treatment, so patients are easily able to drive themselves home. However, the sleep effects of oral conscious sedation and any type of intravenous sedation last longer. If you choose pills or an IV, you will be required to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Dr. Frahm has created a gentle, calming experience to put you at ease as soon as you walk in the door. To put our patients at ease, we offer both oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide sedation dentistry to our patients and she will be happy to discuss 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: Why Sedation Dentistry is Wonderful

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If you are ready to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sarah Frahm, please call 831-372-8011 today or contact our concierge care team. We are happy to serve patients throughout the communities of Monterey, Carmel, and Pebble Beach.  

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Office Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8am-5pm

Location: 660 Camino Aguajito #201
Monterey, California 93940

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