Sedation Dentistry, San Diego CA

Inhalation Conscious Sedation “Laughing Gas”

A combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen has been the primary means of sedation used in dentistry for many years. It has historically been used to alleviate anxiety during dental appointments. All bodily functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. Patients may fall asleep and experience some degree of amnesia about what happened during their dental appointment.

Advantages of Inhalation Conscious Sedation:

  • Works well for mild to moderate anxiety level
  • Rapid onset and rapid recovery of effects
  • Flexible duration — can be used for any length of appointment
  • Absolute control — easy to control level of sedation from moment to moment
  • Very few side effects
  • Analgesic (pain relief) effect
  • Can return to normal activity immediately
  • Can drive self home after dental appointment

Disadvantages of Dental Inhalation Sedation

  • Severe anxiety may require a deeper level of sedation
  • Not indicated for people with respiratory problems (asthma and emphysema)
  • Claustrophobic patients may not like the mask that needs to be worn to deliver the gases

Oral Conscious Sedation Sedation or Relaxation Dentistry

It is administered by taking a pill from a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines, the most commonly used being Halcion (Triazolam). All body functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient is in a deep level of relaxation yet is able to respond appropriately to physical stimulation and verbal commands. The patient may fall asleep and will commonly remember little or nothing about their dental appointment.

Advantages of Dental Oral Sedation:

  • Easy to administer — just a small pill to swallow
  • Safe and easy to monitor
  • Works well for most people
  • Low cost

Disadvantages of Dental Oral Sedation:

  • The level of sedation is not easily changed
  • There is no analgesic (pain relief) effect
  • You must have a driver take you home after the appointment