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Sedation has changed the way many of our patients feel about dental care. Whether you experience mild anxiety or full-fledged fear in the dental chair, sedation will relax you so you can get the care you need. It’s important to take several factors into account when choosing the right sedation for dental procedures, however.

While we’ll discuss them here in our blog, we recommend speaking with Dr. Barfield prior to your procedure. He will help you choose the best sedation method for your situation. Call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105 for an appointment. We’ll help you learn how stress-free dentistry can be!

Unlike some dentists, we offer three kinds of sedation:

  • Laughing Gas, which gives you a feeling of light euphoria. It’s actually a mix of oxygen and a non-irritating gas.
  • Oral Sedation, which relaxes you more than laughing gas but not as much as IV sedation.
  • IV Sedation, which puts you into a deeply relaxed state. You can receive different levels of IV sedation.

Each method has its benefits – but also possible shortcomings. All three methods are safe. You’ll be monitored carefully throughout your treatment no matter which sedation you receive. There is no added charge for laughing gas!

Dental Sedation Is Administered in Different Ways

You inhale laughing gas through a small mask worn over your nose. The mask is quite small, so few people are bothered by it. With oral sedation, you will typically take a pill prescribed by Dr. Barfield at home before your procedure. IV sedation is administered intravenously. This can be a non-starter for those who don’t tolerate needles well.

You won’t need to change your diet or other aspects of your routine prior to receiving laughing gas. If you’re receiving another sedation for dental procedures, you’ll need to avoid food and drink for several hours before your treatment.

Consider the Length of Your Dental Procedure

Because they relax you more, you may want to consider oral or IV sedation if you are undergoing a lengthy procedure or if you want to get multiple procedures in a single appointment. One caveat about oral sedation: We can’t administer more during a procedure, the way we can with laughing gas and IV sedation.

Effects of Some Sedation Linger

When selecting sedation for dental procedures, you’ll want to consider your recovery time. If you need to drive yourself home after a procedure, you will want to choose laughing gas. It wears off quickly, with no lingering effects. So you’ll feel like yourself again and be able to drive.

The calming effects of the other two methods last far longer, which can make it challenging to resume your daily activities right away. Your recovery time will depend on the specific drugs used, your individual response to them, and the time you spent under sedation. With both of them, you’re likely to feel drowsy for at least a few hours. You’ll need to arrange for transportation home, and you’ll want to take it easy for a while.

How Aware Do You Want to Be?

While all three kinds of sedation will relax you, some leave you less aware of your surroundings than others. With laughing gas, most people are relaxed but aware of what is happening around them. With the other two kinds of sedation, you’ll be less aware of sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations. You may feel like you’re in a dreamlike state.

It is easier for us to adjust your level of relaxation with laughing gas or IV sedation, as we can increase or decrease the amount of the sedative during your procedure. That’s not possible with oral sedation.

We’ll Consider Your Medical History

Dr. Barfield will ask you about your medical history. He’ll also ask about any medications you are taking. With some conditions, it’s best to avoid certain kinds of sedation for dental procedures. Conditions that can affect your response to sedation include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Pregnancy
  • Known allergic reactions to drugs
  • Depression or bipolar disorder
  • Glaucoma
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Bronchitis
  • Impaired kidney or liver function

With our experience with all three kinds of sedation, you can trust us to help you choose the right sedation for dental procedures. Call 972-380-8105 for more information.