How Are Dental Sedation and Anesthesia Used During an Appointment?

woman smiling and showing bright, white teethVisiting the dentist regularly and at the first sign of any issues helps patients keep up with their oral health.

Dental fear and dental anxiety, two related, but distinct conditions, can prevent people from seeking essential care when they have dental issues.

Dr. Denes in Fresno, CA can help ease the fear, anxiety, and discomfort with dental sedation and anesthesia.

Dental sedation calms a patient’s nerves and allows the dentist to perform one or more dental procedures in a single appointment. Oral sedatives are halcyon and Valium.

Anesthesia dulls the ability to recognize discomfort, making the patient feel more comfortable and at ease during procedures. Nitrous oxide and local injections are anesthetics.

Dental sedation and anesthesia serve different functions but complement each other, with the united result of providing a comfortable experience for the patient.

Which Method is Right for Me?

I need implant-retained dentures and have no fear of the dentist.

  • Implants require a day surgery but can be placed comfortably with nitrous oxide and local anesthesia.

I avoid the dental office at all costs, and my mouth has paid the price!

  • Oral sedation will allow you to undergo many procedures and many hours of treatment in a single visit! You’ll feel relaxed and may even fall asleep in the chair.

I need a filling, but I have TMJ disorder, so my jaw hurts terribly when my mouth stays open for more than a very short time.

  • Nitrous oxide may do the trick, making you feel comfortable throughout your dental treatment. However, you might be better served with oral sedation.

I’m scared of needles! I need a bridge, but I can’t face the anesthetic injections.

  • If you don’t need any major dental work, and your health qualifies you, nitrous oxide is the ideal anesthetic for you!

How Oral Sedation Works

With oral sedation, Dr. Denes will usually prescribe an oral sedative to take before the procedure. Be sure to follow the dentist’s specific instructions for dose and time, to ensure the drugs work correctly. The oral sedative is a form of anti-anxiety medication. Although a patient might become slightly drowsy, he or she will remain awake and have full control of his or her senses. Some patients recall nothing after the dental appointment, others recall only bits, and still others remember the appointment, but felt no anxiety.

Oral sedation affects the brain’s recognition of stress and induces relaxation. The effects can last for many hours. Therefore, the patients will require a ride to and from our office and will need to remain home after the visit.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide gas similarly mitigates anxiety by reducing sensitivity to pain. A patient will inhale the nitrous oxide gas through a facemask and remain conscious during the procedure.

Nitrous oxide affects the body’s ability to sense pain. The effects wear off immediately after removing the facemask through which it is administered. The patient can drive home and return to normal activities immediately following the appointment.

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthesia prevents pain by numbing mouth tissues in specific areas, blocking nerves that sense and emit pain signals. This type of anesthesia can be topical, such as that used to soothe pain from mouth sores, or injectable, used to enhance comfort during procedures. Local anesthesia is used in combination with nitrous oxide and oral sedation.

A Comfortable Experience at the Dentist’s Office

Dental sedation and anesthesia can change common conceptions surrounding a typical appointment at the dentist’s office. Feeling more relaxed in a dental chair can change a lifelong mindset and affect how you will take care of your oral health long-term.  Whether it is basic preventive care, cosmetic dentistry, implant surgery, or other dental procedures, dental sedation can mitigate your fear and anxiety. Schedule an appointment at our Fresno, CA dental practice or call to learn more about sedation dentistry.

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