Sedation can range from the use of nitrous oxide to calm a patient to oral sedation used to put patients in a more relaxed state. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical handicaps or strong gag reflexes may benefit from sedation. Periodontal procedures like extractions, cosmetic procedures, crown lengthening, and some non-surgical procedures can require sedation.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their periodontal visit. Before using a sedative or anesthetic, it is important to tell us about any medications or medical treatments you are receiving. Before administering any sedative or anesthetic, we will talk to you about the process of sedation and pre- and post-sedation instructions.
Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is often used as a conscious sedative during a periodontal visit. The gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen and has a calming effect that helps phobic or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. Because it is a mild sedative, patients are still conscious and can talk to the periodontist during their visit. After treatment, the nitrous is turned off and oxygen is administered for 5-10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas. The effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea and constipation. Your periodontist will provide you with pre- and post-sedation instructions.