Are you delaying treatment that you need or want, or are you terrified to pick up the phone to schedule your root canal procedure because of painful dental procedures in the past? When you visit the dentist, do you have a problem with gagging or getting numb? Would you like to be able to smile again with confidence? If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you are not alone.

Fortunately, you have come to the right place for your endodontic (root canal) or implant care. Oral sedation is used on many occasions to help our patients ease their anxieties. We recommend that you arrange for a friend or family member drive you home from your appointment. Dr. Isaacs also recommends that you spend the remainder of the day relaxing with no strenuous work.

What is Oral Sedation Dentistry?

Sometimes referred to as “comfortable” or “relaxation” dentistry, the terms describe the feelings most patients experience during their oral sedation appointments. The purpose of oral sedation is to allow a dentist to work more effectively by helping a patient become as comfortable as possible with the use of sedative medications administered orally and sublingually.

Appropriately trained dentists can use a variety of protocols customized to a patient’s physiological and pharmacological needs. A number of oral agents developed especially for these purposes, subjected to rigorous research and testing, are safe and have been used for decades. Those in the benzodiazepine class, such as triazolam and diazepam, have “amnesic” properties, meaning that patients remember little to nothing of their time in the dental chair by the next day. Other medications sometimes used in sedation protocols include antihistamines, like hydroxyzine, and insomnia medications, like zaleplon, which aid in relaxing and calming a patient.

Which patients benefit the most from sedation?

can benefit a wide range of patients, including people with:

  • High dental anxiety and fear.
  • A severe gag reflex.
  • Time constraints—those who need to get more dentistry done in fewer visits.
  • Chronic or acute jaw soreness.
  • Physical limitations such as back and neck problems.
  • Difficulty getting numb.
  • A reluctance to previously complete treatment plans.
  • Extensive treatment needs.
  • A desire to have dentistry done comfortably while they are fully relaxed.
How does using sedation dentistry help you get existing patients to accept
the treatment they’ve long put off?

Many have found a similar pattern. A huge percentage of patients who come in for prophylaxis have often put off routine treatment for decades. The simple reason behind it: they are secretly anxious. Although they will sometimes come in for hygiene appointments, they stop when it comes to more extensive treatment because they are afraid. When they discover that they can have their dentistry performed while they are sedated—without the use of an IV needle—people become much more likely to complete their treatment plans.

What about drug interactions?

Sedation medications are chosen based on an individual’s medical history. We utilize sophisticated, yet that automatically cross-checks a patients’ medications (even herbal and nutritional supplements) with sedative medications. In addition to taking a thorough medical history from each patient, drug interaction screening and patient monitoring (with equipment such as a pulse oximeter with a blood pressure monitor), helps ensure oral sedation dentistry is completed safely and effectively.