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Sedation Dentistry for Yuba City, CA

Do you lose sleep the night before a dental appointment? Do you become physically ill when you enter the waiting room? If so, you are not alone. In fact, some individuals experience such an overwhelming feeling of dismay that they skip their dental visits altogether, keeping them from the quality care they deserve. These are all symptoms of dental anxiety, a common condition that can leave patients feeling frightened and panic-stricken. Fortunately, at River Oaks Dental, Dr. Charles N. Sannar offers options in sedation dentistry to help abate fears and make our patients more comfortable during treatment.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Simply stated, sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to induce relaxation for patients undergoing treatment. Sleepiness is a common side effect of sedation, but it is not the primary goal. Rather, the fundamental objective is to help the individual achieve a level of comfort that will calm anxieties for a more pleasant experience. Sedation in a dental office differs from general anesthesia in a hospital, as patients will still be responsive and will be breathing on their own.

Types of Sedation Dentistry at River Oaks Dental

We find that most patients prefer minimal sedation dentistry, as it does not require IV needles. Therefore, individuals can enjoy a more comfortable visit from start to finish. At River Oaks Dental, we provide three common sedation options for our patients:

  • Nitrous oxide: More commonly known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is used as a mild sedative. Laughing gas is administered via inhalation through a small mask or nosepiece. Most patients begin to feel less anxious within minutes and simply experience an overall feeling of wellbeing. Generally, individuals can expect to feel “heavy” in the dental chair, as though they are sinking into it. Tingling sensations in the fingers and toes are also common. The dosage can be adjusted throughout the duration of the procedure for optimal comfort. Patients who opt for nitrous oxide will be able to drive themselves to and from their appointment.
  • Minimal oral conscious sedation: Another common sedation option, minimal oral conscious sedation involves taking prescription-strength medication prior to your dental visit. In most cases, you will be given the sedatives beforehand, taking one dose the night before your procedure and the other dose approximately one hour before your appointment. Because this type of sedation dulls the senses, most patients do not recall the sounds, smells, or sensations associated with their treatment. Because oral sedatives affect cognitive ability and motor skills, patients must have a friend or family member drive them to and from our office.
  • Combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedation: For those who desire a higher level of sedation, nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation can be combined. This is a popular option among our patients, as it provides the maximum level of comfort. To determine the most appropriate medications and dosages, your doctor will perform a full assessment of your health history. Individuals who choose this sedation option will need to have a designated driver the day of their treatment, as cognitive and motor skills will be affected.


Drugs Used for Oral Conscious Sedation

In sedation dentistry, most of the drugs used are in the benzodiazepine family. These medications help reduce anxiety and alleviate insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms. Each type of medication that we use has a different half-life, meaning the effects can last longer or shorter, depending on which drug is administered. Therefore, the type of sedative most appropriate for your procedure will depend on the length of your treatment as well as your medical history. Listed below are some of the most common sedation drugs we use at our practice.

  • Ativan®: Commonly used for procedures lasting two hours or more, Ativan is highly effective for reducing anxiety. Patients who take this sedative may experience an amnesiac effect.
  • Halcion®: Generally used to treat sleeplessness, Halcion is an excellent choice for procedures lasting less than two hours, as it has a short half-life.
  • Valium®: This amnesia-inducing sedative is typically reserved for longer, more complex procedures.
  • Versed®: With a short half-life, Versed is generally used for procedures lasting 30 minutes or less.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Minimal sedation dentistry has changed the lives of millions of patients worldwide. Some of the most notable advantages include:

  • Reduced anxiety and fear
  • Safe and effective
  • No IV needles
  • Few side effects
  • Efficient treatment, as more can be accomplished in a single appointment

Learn More about Sedation Dentistry

With today’s advances, you do not have to be scared about going to the dentist. To learn more about the sedation options offered at our Yuba City, CA practice, contact us online or call us at (530) 671-2344.