ANXIETY-FREE DENTISTRY IS OUR GOAL

Sedation

Nowadays, sedation is a very common part of a dentist’s toolkit for making dental treatments pain-free and anxiety-free. It is very effective in relaxing the most anxious patients even for invasive and complicated treatments such as wisdom tooth extractions, root canals and implant placements.


Sedation is defined as a state of altered consciousness that involves a decrease in awareness and anxiety from normal levels. Sedation is commonly known as or ‘being knocked out’ or ‘going under’. Sedation is different from local anaesthesia (freezing). It primarily works to reduce the brain’s experience of pain, while local anaesthetics prevent the pain from ever reaching the brain. There are two broad classes of sedation:

Conscious sedation is when:

    1. The sedated patient can still respond to verbal communication and tactile sensation no matter how relaxed they feel. They may even be partially asleep, but they can be woken up by sound and touch.
    2. The lungs and the heart are working fine without the need for external support.
    3. When under conscious sedation, the patient can still feel pain and will react to it, but the pain felt is usually not as strong as when they are completely alert.
    4. Nowadays, conscious sedation is a very common part of a dentist’s toolkit for making dental treatments pain-free and anxiety-free. It is very effective in relaxing the most anxious patients.

Unconscious sedation, otherwise known as general anaesthesia, is when:

    1. Patient cannot be woken up by any verbal or physical stimulus.
    2. The lungs and the heart do need support of external devices to function properly under unconscious sedation.
    3. When sedated unconscious, patients will not wakeup with anything (even pain); but interestingly, the body can still feel the pain and will respond to it with subconscious symptoms of pain such as the rapid beating of the heart; while the patient will not remember any of it because they are completely ‘out of it’. So, although there will be no memory of the pain, it is still a bad idea to stress the body this way. Therefore, even when under unconscious sedation, concurrent local anaesthesia is still needed for dental treatments.
    4. Unconscious sedation is rarely needed in dentistry. It is usually used for very young children and under specialized settings such as a hospital.

At Soleil Dental Centre, we offer conscious sedation that is achieved with use of nitrous oxide (laughing) gas or sedative medication (or both together if needed). This enables us to do the more invasive and complicated treatments, such as removal of teeth (including wisdom teeth), root canals, and implant placements while keeping our patients pain-free and anxiety-free. Note: we do not offer sedation for patients under 3 years of age or under 30 lbs, but we will make the appropriate referrals and ensure they receive the needed treatments as quickly as possible.

We always recommend patients try the laughing gas first and then decide if they want to take sedative pills instead (or in addition to the gas). Although taking pills is more convenient, and they could provide a deeper level of sedation than gas alone; but we administer the pills only onsite, and we will need you here an hour earlier for your appointment to make sure they are properly administered. Furthermore, if pills are taken, with or without the gas, the patient will need to fast for longer before the appointment, they cannot be discharged unaccompanied, and they cannot drive home. They can also expect some drowsiness for the rest of that day. For more information, please read our before and after instructions for using sedative medication.

On the other hand, if only the gas is being administered, then we do not need you here earlier for your appointment, you will need to fast for a shorter period of time, and the effects of the gas will wear off almost immediately after the appointment. So you can go home unaccompanied and you can drive yourself home. You feel normal after and can resume all regular activities that same day. For more information, please read our before and after instructions for using nitrous oxide.

It is up to the patient which type of conscious sedation is administered, there are a few exceptions to that statement, but for the majority of patients, either approach (or both together) are feasible options.

Conscious sedation costs approximately $40 per 15min of appointment time and insurance companies usually cover most or all of it. Please email us with your insurance information, or fill out the New Patient form, for an exact quote for your situation.

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