Sedation Dentistry

Our aim is to help our patients  relax while they are in our office. If you don’t feel comfortable during dental  treatment, talk to us about ways to help you relax. Modern preventive techniques, advances in anesthesia, nitrous oxide and many new relaxation techniques allow our patients to leave our office feeling better than when they arrived!

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Dr. Melissa  and her team offer Inhalation Sedation (Nitrous Oxide Gas), often referred to as “laughing gas”, as an effective anesthetic that has many benefits for patients seeking dental treatment.

Nitrous Oxide is a very safe way to provide mild sedation for a patient that has trouble sitting still or just wants to “take the edge-off” of treatment. It does not replace traditional local anesthetics to numb your mouth. The laughing gas is administered through a special nosepiece and is very comfortable. One of the advantages of using laughing gas is you can drive to and from your appointments. There are NO residual effects from the gas; once we turn it off, within 5 minutes it is completely out of your system. The only patient that would not be able to use laughing gas would be a patient that has COPD and uses supplemental oxygen daily, is pregnant, has MS or exotic chest problems or someone who could not breath through their nose. Laughing gas is most commonly used to help children relax in our office but we have many adults that find it very helpful. Please ask us if you have any questions about laughing gas.

There are many advantages to using Nitrous Oxide:

  • The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
  • There is no after effect such as a “hangover”.
  • Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart and lungs, etc.
  • Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging.
  • It works rapidly as it reaches the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as 2-3 minutes its relaxation and pain killing properties develop.

Patients can drive to and from appointments because nitrous oxide rapidly wears off when patients stop breathing the gas.

Oral Sedation (Sleeping Pill)

With oral sedation, you’ll know that the dental work was done, but most patients  have little memory of how it happened. Oral Sedation refers to a mild to moderate type of sedation administered with a tiny “sleeping pill” in your mouth. We normally prescribe a prescription drug called Halcion.  When it is prescribed in the dental office and combined with laughing gas, MOST patients have an amnesia effect and commonly our patients sleep through the procedure.  We  CANNOT guarantee you will not remember the procedure.

IV Sedation (Intravenous Sedation/Twilight Sedation)

Our office offers our patients the option of  intravenous anesthesia or to some it is referred to as “Twilight Sedation” for their dental treatment. Intravenous sedation or “twilight sleep” helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures.  Intravenous sedation or “IV sedation” (twilight sedation) is designed to better enable you to undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed; it will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. If you choose the option of intravenous sedation your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by the doctor therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same day surgical facility.

How is the IV sedation administered?

A thin needle will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. Once again, some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. But the medications we give you will give you amnesia so you will not remember the treatment. The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. It is very safe, much safer than oral sedation. With IV sedation a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time, an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary.

Common Sedation Dentistry Questions
People who have…
  • high fear/traumatic dental experiences
  • difficulty getting numb
  • a bad gag reflex
  • very sensitive teeth
  • complex dental problems
  • limited time to complete dental care
People who…
  • hate needles and shots
  • hate the noises, smells and tastes associated with dental care
  • are afraid or embarrassed about their teeth

No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state, and you will be responsive.

Yes, one of our team is always with you and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit. 

Depending on your needs, from two to eight hours.

Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need someone to drive you to our office and home again.

IV Sedation guarantees that you will not remember the treatment, and is the safest way to be sedated in the dental office. If you chose to use nitrous oxide with oral sedation (sleeping pill), you will be more relaxed and may have amnesia but we cannot guarantee it, because each patient is unique and the oral sedatives cannot be titrated like IV sedation can. We are only able to use certain dosages of oral sedation and it may not be enough to safely sedate you. So, if you have a very high level of anxiety, and are healthy, then IV sedation is best for you. 
  • Anterograde amnesia. Due to the amnesic effects of the medications, patients have little or no recollection of the treatment.
  • Less post-operative soreness. When patients are afraid, their threshold for pain is much lower. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, like adrenaline, which puts a patient’s “fight or flight” instincts on high alert. They anticipate that something will hurt, so they tense their muscles leading to additional soreness post-treatment. A patient’s apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain are virtually eliminated with sedation. This increased comfort level reduces the likelihood and severity of post-operative discomfort.
  • Dry mouth. Sedative medications will decrease salivary flow and allow the dentist to perform treatment in a dryer environment.
  • Nausea. A small percentage of patients will experience nausea.
  • It Really Works! You really can relax through your dental appointment.
  • It Is Safe
  • Most will have little or no memory of the experience depending on which method you chose to use.
  • You can relax 
  • Complex dental treatments, that often require six to eight appointments, can be done in as little as one! All while you relax. 
  • People who have difficulty getting numb will find that sedation dentistry eliminates this problem. 
  • Sedation dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue of extended dental treatment requiring long visits. 
  • You may not have anything to eat or drink (including water) for six hours prior to the appointment. (Regular medications may be taken with a sip of water.)
  • A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office, remain in the office during the procedure, and drive the patient home.
  • Please wear loose fitting clothing with sleeves which can be rolled up past the elbow, and low-heeled shoes.
  • Contact lenses, jewelry, and dentures must be removed at the time of surgery.
  • Do not wear lipstick, excessive makeup, or nail polish on the day of surgery.
  • If you have an illness such as a cold, sore throat, stomach or upset bowels, please notify the office prior to appointment or ASAP.
  • If you take routine oral medications, please check with Dr. Melissa Jarrell and team prior to your surgical date for instructions.
  • Patient cannot drive for 24 hours after treatment.
  • Patient cannot operate any hazardous devices for 24 hours.
  • A responsible person should be with the patient until he/she has fully recovered from the effects of the medication.
  • Patient should not go up and down stairs unattended. Let the patient stay on the ground floor until recovered.
  • Patient can eat whenever and whatever he/she wants as soon as numbness has worn off completely.
  • Patient must drink plenty of fluids as soon as possible.
  • Patient may sleep for a long time or may be alert when he/she leaves. Attend to both alert and sleepy patient in the same manner – do not trust him/her alone.
  • Always hold patient’s arm when walking.
  • Call us if you have any questions or difficulties. If you feel that your symptoms warrant a physician and you are unable to reach us, go to the closest emergency room immediately.
  • Following most surgical procedures, there may or may not be pain, depending on your threshold for pain. You will be provided with medication for discomfort that is appropriate for you.
  • In most cases, a non-narcotic pain regimen will be given consisting of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). These two medications taken together will be as effective as a narcotic without any side effects associated with a narcotic.
  • If a narcotic has been prescribed, follow the instructions carefully. If you have any questions about these medications interacting with other medications you are presently taking, please call our office (765-453-4369) first, your physician and/or your pharmacist.
From our patients

"I slept through the whole visit and I don't remember anything. Wow!"

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