Sedation Dentistry

The phrase Sedation Dentistry has been a buzz word in our industry for years now and means different things to different people. It is important if you are investigating sedation dentistry to understand what that Dentist’s approach is because it may be different than what you are thinking.

At Waco Family Dentistry we utilize two different methods of sedation.

  • Inhalation sedation: Nitrous oxide, also known as good ol’ laughing gas, has been around for decades and is a safe, non-lingering method of comforting the patient while not knocking them out completely. Yes some people do get the giggles when administered Nitrous, but most people just lay back and chill out a little bit more than they would without it. Once the procedure is completed, the patient is put on oxygen and within 5 to 10 minutes the effects have worn off and they can go about the rest of their day.
  • Oral sedation: This method involves a pill that the patient takes about 1 hour before their procedure. Patients have to be driven to and from the office because the medication will incapacitate the patient more than Nitrous Oxide. It still doesn’t put you to sleep – the only safe way to do that in my opinion is with IV sedation which we do not do, but it makes the patient less aware of what is going on and in most there is an amnesic effect where patients really don’t remember any details about their appointment. In some cases we will use a low level of Nitrous Oxide with the pill to help the patient achieve a little stronger effect, but never do we “put patients to sleep.”

A word about kids: Kids are not little adults! Physiologically they are very different. Most kids do well without any sedation at all. We can use Nitrous Oxide on kiddos that may need just a little help to make it through a procedure. For kids that are extremely apprehensive or uncooperative, or if they have extensive work that needs to be done, we will refer to a pediatric dentist, a dentist who has specialized training in handling kids, who can safely sedate kids with more than just Nitrous Oxide and if need be, can utilize a hospital if deeper sedation is necessary. We want every experience to be positive for your children. We will never force anything on a child out of convenience, and will refer if we feel your child will have a more positive experience at the pediatric dentist.