Dr. James S. Kim, DDS. SC

Sedation Dentistry …Which option is best for you? Nitrous Oxide, Oral, or IV Sedation

September 25, 2013
Posted By: Dr. James S. Kim
Sedation Dentistry in Wausau WI

Sedation Dentistry in Wausau, WI

One of the nice perks of modern technology is that you do not have to settle for less living in Wausau, WI. It was not too long ago where you had to travel to one of the major cities to get special dental care like sedation, but that is no longer the case. Today’s technology allows people to receive the best oral care with a trained and experienced sedation dentist right here in Wausau.  

I think having choices empowers you, the patient. Given the appropriate information, an educated patient can choose for him or herself the best option. Depending on your comfort zone, any of the three sedation options or combination thereof may be the best option for you. When it comes to sedation dentistry, there are 3 choices to choose from: nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral (pills), and IV sedation. Let me explain the 3 different forms of sedation and let you decide what maybe appropriate for you.

Dental Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) Sedation

Many people know nitrous oxide as laughing gas. This is because for some people it creates a relax state where the person starts to giggle and laugh. Obviously, this means that the person is in a happy state. Therefore, nitrous oxide is a nice option for people who have some anxiety about being in the dental environment. It calms the person quickly and removes the effects in a short period of time. This means no lingering consequences and no need for transportation and adult supervision. Nitrous oxide is routinely used for patients to take the edge off, thus decreasing the anxiety to a comfortable level where excellent dental treatment can be delivered. Nitrous oxide is a very safe drug, so it is routinely used for children that maybe difficult to treat otherwise.  And for some adults we use nitrous oxide as their form of sedation for cleanings and routine procedures such as white fillings and crowns.

Dental Oral Conscious Sedation (Pills that you swallow)

The next choice for dental sedation is categorized as oral conscious sedation. This form of dental sedation just means that you are to take some pills before and/or during your dental treatment. This form of sedation allows the dentist to achieve a deeper sedation than just nitrous oxide gas alone. This type of oral conscious sedation is strongly recommended for patients who have a high level of anxiety during any dental procedures. However, oral sedation is not only used for anxiety patients, but also for dental procedures that maybe more invasive in nature, such as surgery or longer appointments like a full mouth rehabilitation.  Patients routinely inform us that they had no concept of time in their warm and sleepy state. So it does not matter what type or duration of dental procedure. Patients are relaxed and comfortable during and after the dental procedure. However, due to the nature of drugs and its benefits, patients have to have adult supervision before and after the dental procedure for at least 24 hours. This means supervision by a responsible adult who will be able to drive the patient to and from the dental office. You do have to remember that a sedated patient may say they are feeling “fine,” but it may be the drugs talking and not the patient. Therefore, special attention needs to be addressed with a sedated patient after leaving the dental office. The staff  informs the adult who is responsible for the care of the sedated patient that the patient should not sign or change their wills, nor work on the blender or the lawn mower. You get the point.



Dental IV (Intravenous) Sedation



The last type of dental sedation is what we call IV sedation. This form of dental sedation allows the dentist to deliver the drugs into your body through your vein. This is not much different than what you have seen in outpatient medical procedures at the hospital. So what are the benefits of the IV sedation vs. Oral Conscious Sedation? The 1st reason is the ability to have more control with your sedation. What this means is that we can customize the level of your sedated state depending on your needs. Some people may need more or less depending how they react to the drugs. The pills you take with oral conscious sedation are a suggestion and depending on you, it may be more or less drug to achieve the results we may want. Also, due to the nature of the pills, it has to be taken by mouth and get into your system by your stomach. All of this takes time. So the control of sedation is not as ideal as IV sedation. Unlike oral conscious sedation, the beauty of IV sedation is that we can deliver the drugs almost instantly. The effects are immediate. No waiting and watching. Also the other huge reason for IV sedation being the preferred treatment modality is the safety issue. For the exact same reason I prefer the exact control of the drug to produce a relaxed state of sedation, I can also reverse the drug to bring you out the sedation if need be instantly. IV sedation in dentistry is all about control. This means control of the drugs to make you happy and comfortable, while at the same time having the ability to keep you in the safe zone. Yes you will have the amnesia effect with IV sedation, usually much more due to the type of the drugs used. Also narcotics can be delivered to help with pain control during and after the dental procedures. However, just like oral conscious sedation, you will need a responsible adult who will watch over you for the specified time.

Contact Us

The best way to determine which dental sedation option is best for you would be to contact the staff at our Wausau, WI dental office and allow us to help you select the sedation dentistry method that is right for you.

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