We understand that, unfortunately, some people experience fear or anxiety when they think about a trip to the dentist. In some cases, these phobias can even prevent a person from receiving the dental services they need to maintain proper oral health. At San Francisco Dental Arts, we offer sedation dentistry to create a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for our patients.
You, too, may qualify for sedation dentistry, especially if your anxiety dictates the frequency of your visits. During your next dental exam, ask us about your sedation options. Dr. Stanley Siu and the rest of our team have received extensive training for the safe and effective use of several types of sedation.
Levels of Sedation
There are four major levels of sedation:
The level of sedation you receive depends on the medication we use, and the severity of your anxiety. Patients with significant anxiety may need to be placed in a deeper level of sedation. Regardless of the sedation you receive, most medications are used in conjunction with a local anesthetic. A local anesthetic numbs your mouth to reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort.
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas," is the most common type of dental sedation. Patients who undergo nitrous oxide sedation report feelings of euphoria and deep relaxation. The gas also takes and loses effect almost instantly, making it the only sedation that does not require you to arrange a ride after your appointment.
The gas is administered through a facemask that is placed over the nose at the beginning of the procedure. Once we complete the procedure, we pump oxygen through the mask to reduce or eliminate post-operative side effects. Nitrous oxide is easy to control with minimal side-effects, making it one of the safest and most effective ways to eliminate anxiety.
Oral, or enteral sedation is also extremely common in dentistry. This type of sedation typically comes in the form of a pill or liquid. Medications like Halcion or Valium may be the best way to achieve minimal to moderate levels of relaxation. The medication typically makes you drowsy or groggy, but still alert enough to answer questions and understand your surroundings.
IV Sedation and General Anesthesia
IV (intravenous) sedation and general anesthesia are administered through the vein directly to the bloodstream. This allows medications to take effect more quickly. Because the administration of these types of sedation is a little more serious, we typically reserve them for complex or lengthy procedures like oral surgery.
The IV sedation will place you on the edge of consciousness, with little or no recollection of the procedure. General anesthesia places you completely under and usually requires the supervision of an anesthesiologist. Both of these forms require you to arrange a ride with a friend or family member following your appointment.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry, call 415-854-9396, and schedule your appointment today!