Once you and your dental professional have agreed on conscious dental sedation for use during your dental treatment, there are a variety of ways in which it can be administered.
Inhalation sedation or the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a light form of conscious sedation. Your sedation dentist will administer a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. During the procedure, you inhale the gas through your nose and back out through your mouth. Nitrous oxide wears off almost immediately upon completion of the procedure with minimal to no recovery time or side effects.
Oral medication used for sedation purposes produces medium or moderate sedation effects, depending on the strength of the prescription administered by your sedation dentist. Oral sedation usually comes in pill form and is taken approximately one hour prior to the procedure. You may feel sleepy, but should still be able to respond to your dentist’s commands. Recovery time is longer with oral sedation, and requires someone to drive you home. Side effects are rare, but may include nausea or vomiting.
Another moderate form of conscious sedation is intravenous (IV) sedation. In the case of IV sedation, the drugs are administered directly into your veins through a needle. The effects of IV sedation are much quicker than oral sedation. IV sedation allows your dental professional to adjust the levels of sedation during treatment. With IV sedation, you may begin to feel alert soon after the medication has stopped; however, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
Conscious sedation should only be performed by a dental professional with appropriate training. Your sedation dentist will consider your health history when choosing the appropriate form of sedation to best suit your needs. While conscious sedation is considered safe, it is best to work with a qualified sedation dentist to determine the best form of administration for your dental treatment.
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