At Hometown Dental in Okotoks, we understand that going to the dentist can make patients nervous or apprehensive. For those patients, we offer two types of conscious sedation: oral and inhalation (as well as a combination of the two). Sedation is a process used to create a relaxed and calm state through the use of sedative drugs. We keep our patients at a level of anxiolysis (mild-minimal sedation relieving anxiety) up to moderate sedation. In moderate sedation, the patients have a depressed level of consciousness but still breath on their own and can respond to verbal or physical stimuli.
Oral sedation involves taking pills one hour prior to starting the treatment. We will get you comfortable in the dental chair, give you the pills and monitor you while you relax. We use Triazolam (from the same family as Ativan) to help with anxiety and it also has somewhat of an amnesia effect. It often causes the patient to feel groggy and slur their words. Oral sedation renders a person intoxicated for 24 hours so he or she requires an escort to bring them to the appointment as well as to take them home and monitor them after. For this modality, we complete a pre-sedation visit where all the risks and benefits are discussed as well as medical history and vitals are taken. We also confirm the planned treatment at this visit and complete and informed consent forms.
Inhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”. Patients wear a nose mask and breath the nitrous oxide for a calming effect. We have the ability to adjust the level of sedation needed. This is a very useful adjunct to treatment on children as it calms them and is reversible with 5 min of pure oxygen at the end of the appointment. Because of its reversible nature, it is great for adult patients who need to come on their own without an escort. Nitrous oxide provides a feeling of well-being and anxiolysis. It can also be added to oral sedation if a slightly increased amount of sedation is needed.
We find that sedation is effective in helping very nervous patients achieve the oral health treatment and goals that they desire. Please let us know if you would like to discuss sedation and we will be happy to provide further details based on your specific need.