Three types of sedation are commonly used in dentistry during treatment appointments.
Local anesthetic is used to prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment. Dr. Bridges or Dr. Buckner may apply a topical anesthetic to numb an area in preparation for administering an injectable local anesthetic. Topical anesthetics can also be used to soothe painful mouth sores. Injectable anesthetics may be used in procedures such as filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns or treating gum disease.
During procedures, nitrous oxide (often referred to as “laughing gas”) is commonly used to reduce anxiety and help patients to relax and be still. The great thing about it is that as soon as it’s turned off, the patient will return to a normal mental state within seconds. There are no known long-term effects, and it’s safe for all ages. It is used in conjunction with local anesthetic for numbing.
During more complex procedures, such a wisdom tooth extraction, oral conscious sedation is often used. This is essentially anxiety medication, such as Valium or Halcion, that is administered to help you relax and sometimes even fall asleep. It is usually used in conjunction with local anesthetic and nitrous oxide for the best possible results.