Sedation Dentistry

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Sedation Dentistry in Chicago, IL 

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.

Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep.  In fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure.  Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and IV sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.

Sedation dentistry is popular because most sedatives can be taken by mouth, meaning no injections, no anxiety and no pain.  Some sedatives work so effectively that even the smells and details of the procedure cannot be recalled afterwards.  Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.

Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver.  Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not advisable.

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • No needles.
  • No pain.
  • Perfectly safe.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

What kinds of sedatives are available?

At PerioCare we offer nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.  Different levels of sedation (mild to moderate) can be utilized depending on individual needs.  Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Conscious Sedation

All over the world, in every age range, people suffer from dental anxiety. This can mean mere apprehension regarding dental visits or, in more extreme cases, a complete unwillingness to see a dentist at all.

The latter half of these cases can be especially perilous, as people with an extreme dental phobia will ignore a multitude of oral health issues until they can no longer tolerate the discomfort. Often, by the time they call a dentist, irreparable damage has already been done.

At The PerioCare, we understand that dental anxiety is a real problem that many patients must face, and we strive to alleviate those fears so that every patient can get the treatment they deserve. Our Chicago practice utilizes conscious sedation techniques that keep individuals relaxed and comfortable throughout their procedures.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, is the sedative of choice for most oral healthcare professionals, and Russell Cecala, DDS, is no different.

This was first introduced into the field of dentistry in the mid-1800s as a general anesthetic during surgery. Believe it or not, before this, medical and dental surgeries were performed with no anesthetic at all.

It’s important to note that nitrous oxide does not contain any actual anesthetic. Instead, it calms and comforts the patient, creating a light euphoria that allows them to ignore minor discomfort, usually in conjunction with a local anesthetic.

IV Sedation

IV, or intravenous sedation, is similar to laughing gas in results but instead uses an IV drip to maintain dosage. This is ideal for patients who require a large amount of dental work in a single sitting.

The pharmaceuticals used for IV sedation are stronger than nitrous oxide, but require longer waiting periods to wear off after treatment. It is also common for patients to almost completely forget the procedure after the drug’s effects have dissipated. 

An added bonus to the use of IV sedatives, Dr. Cecala can closely monitor a patient’s pulse and oxygen levels through the use of a pulse oximeter that is employed alongside the sedatives.

What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures.  Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:

Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.

Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety.  It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life.  Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.

I.V. Conscious Sedation is available using Versed.  

Versed® – This sedative is used via I.V. and is given over time duration of the procedure.  

Conquer Your Fears at PerioCare

Anxiety and phobias are a reality for millions of people all over the world. Our friendly staff and team of oral healthcare professionals recognizes this and takes every step to create a welcoming, comfortable environment for every patient that walks through our doors.

While we can’t treat your anxieties, we can do everything in our power to alleviate them. Conscious sedation is the perfect tool to help patients overcome their fears and get the dental work they need. Combined with Dr. Cecala’s gentle touch and the comforting environment of our Chicago practice, any patient will feel at ease as we help them on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile.

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