What Is It Like to Be Under Dental Sedation?

July 16, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkoo @ 3:52 am
Gloved hands preparing to place nitrous oxide mask on patient

If you need a dental procedure or oral surgery, such as dental implant placement, you may understandably be a little nervous. To help you stay calm, your care provider may have offered sedation. But what does sedation feel like? The answer depends on the type of medication that is used. Let’s discuss what you can expect to feel with a few popular types of sedation dentistry.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is a mild form of sedation. Nitrogen and oxygen are mixed together, and you breathe in the gas through a nasal mask — many patients love that nitrous oxide does not involve the use of any needles. As you inhale, you will begin to feel relaxed, calm, and perhaps a little giddy (nitrous oxide is also known as “laughing gas”). Your ability to feel pain will also be lessened.

Nitrous oxide will not put you to sleep. In fact, you should remain fairly alert throughout your treatment. Within minutes of your nasal mask being removed, the effects of the sedation should wear off, leaving you feeling well enough to drive yourself home.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation involves the use of a pill that you swallow shortly before your dental procedure begins. It is not meant to put you to sleep or make you unconscious, but some patients drift off while they are under the medication’s influence. After your procedure, it may take several hours for the medication to completely wear off. In the meantime, you may feel groggy and a bit “out of it.” Once the sedation’s influence is gone, you are unlikely to remember what happened during your appointment.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is more powerful than nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation. It administers sedative directly into the bloodstream via a needle inserted into the hand or arm. It takes effect very quickly. Although it will not make you unconscious, IV sedation is also known as “twilight sedation” because it can make you feel as if you are unconscious. It does not wear off quickly, so you can expect to have a day or so of downtime after your appointment. Just like with oral conscious sedation, you should not remember your procedure.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Sedation dentistry is a great option for people who are nervous about oral treatments. It is also suitable for those with a sensitive gag reflex, individuals who have trouble sitting still, and anyone who needs to undergo a particularly extensive or invasive procedure. Of course, your oral surgeon will have to take a thorough medical history to make sure that sedation will be safe for you.

Now that you know a bit more about what sedation dentistry feels like, you can have a more in-depth discussion with your dentist or oral surgeon about your sedation options. Whichever type is used for you, you can be confident that it will make your procedure much easier and more comfortable than it would be otherwise.

Meet the Practice

Drs. Steve Koo, Thomas Weil, and William Shepard are the board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Piney Point Dental Implant Center. They are qualified to offer nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation for nervous or sensitive patients. To learn more about them and how they can make your next oral surgery as comfortable as possible, contact our office at 713-597-7340.

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