What is Sedation Dentistry?
Do you feel fearful, anxious and uneasy about going to the dentist? If so, you are not alone. Dental phobias and anxieties are not all that uncommon, and sedation dentistry can help you feel relaxed and worry-free during your appointment at the practice of Ronald W. Konig, DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIAPA.
The goal of sedation dentistry is to provide you with some form of sedation where you are either in a conscious state, but sedated, or in a sleeping state. There are a few forms of dental sedation:
- Pill form – oral sedatives
- IV sedation administered by an anesthesiologist
- Nitrous oxide – laughing gas
These forms of sedation offer various levels of relaxation. Nitrous oxide provides the most mild sedation and wears off quickly after the breathing mask is removed.
Oral conscious sedation allows you to remain awake and responsive, but deeply relaxed. You may feel like you are about to fall asleep after taking the sedation pill.
IV sedation generally provides deeper levels of sedation, even to the point of being asleep if necessary. A certified anesthesiologist will administer the intravenous medication. Dr. Konig offers an anesthetic reversal agent called OraVerse so that you can recover from anesthesia as quickly as possible.
Who May Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?
As an extensively experienced dentist, Dr. Konig wants to hear about your questions and concerns and help you decide if a sedation method may be right for you. Some of the reasons people seek out relaxation dentistry are:
- Fear of the dentist
- Past traumatic dental experiences
- Sensitive gag reflex
- Physical discomfort when lying in the treatment chair
- Need to have multiple dental treatments completed in one appointment
- Fear of needles, tooth extractions, certain dental tools or certain dental procedures
For many of our patients, sedation has been an effective way to let go of feelings of fear, anxiety, loss of control and other negative feelings that arise in response to dental treatment. Only an experienced and caring dentist like Dr. Konig can determine if oral sedation or IV sedation may be a good fit for you.
What Procedures can be Performed?
The purpose of dental sedation is to make anxious patients more comfortable so they can attend to their oral health needs. With multiple forms of sedation available, it's possible to choose an appropriate method for any dental treatment. If you are highly anxious and find it difficult to see your dentist for exams and cleanings, a mild form of sedation like nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation can be incorporated into your appointment. If you need a more involved procedure like dental implants and it causes extraordinarily high stress or fear, you may receive the most benefit from IV sedation. Your comfort is our goal. Talk to our team about the procedures that you need and how dental sedation can help you feel better than you could ever have imagined.
Will Sedation Also Relieve Pain?
Yes. Dental sedation can work in a few ways to prevent discomfort during procedures. One way that the sedative works is by reducing stress. When you're stressed and anxious, the chemicals released by the brain can heighten your pain responses. By calming the brain, dental sedation naturally lowers your pain responses. Studies also suggest that dental sedation may work synergistically with the local anesthetic administered to numb the treatment area around a tooth. When the local anesthetic is given to a sedated patient, it may work more quickly and more efficiently than it would on its own. This is why sedation dentistry is often referred to as "painless dentistry."
What Types of Sedation Do You Use?
We have a variety of sedation methods at our disposal. This enables us to meet each patient where they're at in terms of anxiety and preferences. Patients who are mildly anxious or have a strong gag reflex and who want the fastest recovery from sedation may find nitrous oxide the most beneficial option. Patients who want to feel more disconnected during their dental procedure and who don't mind taking the remainder of their day off to rest as their anesthesia wears off may feel most comfortable choosing IV sedation. From nitrous oxide to IV sedation and oral sedatives in between, we have options for sedation that can work for just about every situation.
What are the Risks of Sedation Dentistry?
All forms of dental sedation come with a few potential side effects. The exact side effects and their severity are determined in part by the type of sedation that is administered, how much, and also the unique way in which a patient's body metabolizes the medication. That said, we generally see side effects broken down as such:
- Nitrous oxide side effects may include an uncontrollable urge to giggle (hence, the term "laughing gas"), lightheadedness, shivering or excessive sweating, and headache. There is a chance of nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and feeling faint.
- Oral conscious sedation can result in grogginess, slow reflexes, mild nausea, headache, and dizziness. Some patients who receive an oral sedative do not remember their treatment.
- IV sedation, the type that is administered via a needle into a vein, may incur side effects such as bruising and minor swelling around the insertion point, drowsiness, lightheadedness, headache, nausea, and dry mouth. Short-term amnesia is also a side effect of IV sedation. Most patients do not remember their dental procedure.
Hear From Our Patients
"Dr. Konig and every member of his staff are fantastic. Personable and professional, they make you feel welcome, appreciated and well taken care of. Using cutting edge diagnostics and procedures, I have full confidence they will properly care for my dental needs." -G.P
"I have seen Dr. Konig for many years. His knowledge, skill set, and interpersonal skills are, in my opinion, without peer. He has also surrounded himself with a support team that mirrors his professionalism. My endorsement is unequivocal." -M.M
To find out if the sedation dentistry services at our dental practice are right for you, please call our office at 713-668-2289. We serve Houston and all of the surrounding areas, including Katy, Sugar Land and The Woodlands, Texas.