What Is Sedation Dentistry Like? Understanding What to Expect

At Life Dentistry, Dr. James Martin specializes in sedation dentistry in Lafayette and Louisville. Whether you have dental anxiety, you’re nervous about an upcoming procedure, or you want to simply be more comfortable during your appointment with Dr. Martin, our team is here to help.

If you’ve never been sedated at the dentist before, you may not know what to expect. What’s sedation dentistry like? Let’s discuss the basics about sedation now, and explore both nitrous sedation and oral sedation. 

Sedation with “laughing gas”

“Laughing gas” uses nitrous oxide to provide you with a more comfortable, relaxing experience at the dentist. This gas will be pumped through a nose mask. While you’re being sedated, you’ll simply inhale when directed to do so by Dr. James Martin. He’ll control the flow of gas to ensure that you get the proper dose of sedative.

“Laughing gas” sedation is also called “minimal” sedation because its effects are not extremely strong. You will feel a bit “floaty” and euphoric. You may even laugh or find the things around you to be strangely funny, hence the term “laughing gas.” 

In addition, “Laughing gas” has very strong anti-anxiety effects, so you’re less likely to feel nervous or scared during your appointment. Nitrous also is an analgesic (pain reliever), so it works with numbing to ensure that you won’t feel any pain or discomfort during your appointment.

Once your treatment has been completed, Dr. Martin will pump pure oxygen through the mask for a few minutes, and you’ll breathe it in to purge the nitrous oxide from your lungs. This helps prevent symptoms like headaches.

The effects of nitrous oxide wear off in just a few minutes, and it has minor side effects. You may feel a bit confused, and side effects like shivering and nausea are also common, but wear off quickly. After being sedated with nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself home, or even go back to work if you need to. 

What to expect with oral sedation

Oral sedation consists of a strong, pill-based anti-anxiety medication that you will take about 1-2 hours before your appointment. Once the pill takes effect, you will feel very groggy and sleepy. It’s very common for patients to fall asleep during their procedure.

However, you won’t be unconscious. You can still respond to commands and be roused by Dr. Martin. You may forget most of what happens during your procedure, however, due to anterograde amnesia.

Common side effects of oral sedation include nausea, headaches, confusion, slow reflexes, sluggishness, and low blood pressure. 

The after-effects of oral sedation are more intense and last longer than nitrous sedation. You won’t be able to drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 6 hours after your appointment, so you’ll need to bring a driver with you to take you home.

We offer FREE sedation with your appointment at life dentistry

At Life Dentistry, we don’t believe that dental anxiety should hold you back from getting the dental care you need. That’s why we offer free sedation options with every appointment at our office. From routine cleanings to tooth extraction, you can relax in the dentist’s chair while Dr. Martin takes care of your dental needs. Contact us at (970) 289-5433 to get started, or stop by our office at 110 Old Laramie Trail, Unit 100, Lafayette, CO 8002 to schedule your appointment in person.