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Sedation Dentistry

Relaxing woman with hands behind headThis will come as quite a shock, but not everyone enjoys visiting the dentist. That’s why the Moreno & Young Dental team in Bellingham make a concerted effort to ensure patients are completely comfortable in our office. We take the time to get to know our patients and offer them gentle, attentive dentistry services. However, despite our best efforts, some patients still experience dental anxiety. Other patients may need extra help remaining numb during treatment or improved comfort for advanced and complex procedures. Contact our team to find out more about sedation dentistry services to ensure complete comfort throughout your time in our office.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Hand holding a white tablet pill

Oral conscious sedation is very popular with our patients who experience severe dental phobia or anxiety. Before you ever leave home, you’ll take a prescription sedative pill. As the sedative will begin to take effect prior to your arrival in our office, you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you to your appointment. By the time you reach our office, you’ll already feel very relaxed, and you’ll remain so throughout treatment. Once your procedure is completed, you will need to be driven home and plan to rest for eight to twelve hours before resuming your daily routine.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Woman with nitrous oxide max

Still one of the most popular sedation options available, nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and can be easily adjusted throughout treatment to keep patients completely at ease. We’ll simply place a nasal mask, and you’ll inhale the nitrogen and oxygen combination during your procedure. Once we’ve completed your care, the nitrous mask is removed, and the effects of this sedative will quickly wear away. That means you will be able to resume your daily activities immediately following your appointment.

IV Sedation

IV drip

Intravenous sedation allows us to offer an ideal combination of the best aspects of nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Like nitrous oxide, IV sedation can be adjusted throughout any procedure to ensure patients maintain their ideal level of comfort. However, IV sedatives make it possible for patients to achieve a deeper level of relaxation comparable to what is possible with oral conscious sedation. Like patients who choose to undergo treatment with oral conscious sedation, a trusted friend or relative will need to transport patients to and from the office. Following IV sedation, we also recommend someone be present to monitor the patient’s recovery. The process is simple. We begin an IV drip, typically in the arm. Patients will begin to feel relaxed right away. Once we’ve achieved the desired level of sedation, we can begin treatment. We’ll monitor patients’ vitals to ensure their safety during the procedure, and we can make adjustments to the level of sedation at any point if patients experience discomfort.

General Anesthesiology (Sleep Dentistry)

Woman smiling in dental chair

When people hear the word sedation, general anesthesiology is actually what they think of most often. Unlike other forms of sedation that simply allow patients to achieve a higher level of comfort and relaxation during dental care, general anesthesia renders patients completely unconscious throughout the course of treatment. In order to safely and effectively perform general anesthesia, a doctor needs to complete years of advanced training and education. For this reason, there are not many dental practices that offer full general anesthesia for patients. In order to safely and comfortably provide our more complex treatments, we’ve chosen to utilize general anesthesia. We partner with a professional anesthesiologist to ensure patient safety, and we’re able to perform complex procedures like dental implant placement and full mouth reconstruction without causing patients any unnecessary anxiety or discomfort. They simply sleep soundly and awake after treatment is concluded. Patients who choose general anesthesia will need to have a trusted friend or family member accompany them to and from our office.

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

Question cards for sedation dentistry

There are many rumors and misconceptions surrounding sedation dentistry in Bellingham. It’s normal to have some concerns before you are ready to agree to it. Don’t worry, we will explain everything and address your apprehensions during your consultation. In the meantime, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions to ease any anxieties.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Sedation dentistry is safe for most patients. However, your dentist in Bellingham will review your medical history and any medications you are taking to ensure you have minimal risks of complications. Our office offers multiple types of sedation to find the safest solution for you. Generally, nitrous oxide is suitable for most patients. No matter the sedative, your dental team will closely monitor your vitals at all times for your safety. Our dentists are qualified to administer oral conscious, nitrous oxide, and IV sedation.

Will I feel any pain with dental sedation?

You shouldn’t feel any pain during your procedure. You will remain conscious with nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation; however, you won’t feel any pain. You may feel pressure, but it won’t be painful. If IV sedation is used, you’ll be unconscious, so you won’t be aware of anything going on during your procedure. It’s not unusual for a local anesthetic to be used along with a sedative, numbing the areas to keep you comfortable.

Does dental sedation put you to sleep?

Contrary to common belief, you are not “put to sleep,” unless IV sedation is used. However, you will reach a high level of relaxation with oral conscious and nitrous oxide. You may even drift off to sleep. Your dentist can awaken you easily to respond to verbal cues. It is not uncommon for people to not have a full memory of their time in the dental chair. Depending on the sedative, it can take a few hours for the effects to dissipate. Your dentist will review your aftercare instructions based on the sedative, like arranging transportation home or limiting your activities.

What are the risks of sedation dentistry?

While dental sedation is safe for most patients, there are risks involved for people with certain underlying health issues, like obstructive sleep apnea. Certain medications can also increase your risk of adverse reactions. Everyone handles sedation differently, which is why your dentist will take the time to learn more about your health history. The risk of complications is minimal, but you may experience temporary side effects, like headache, nausea, or grogginess. Most patients feel back to normal within a few hours, but everyone reacts differently.

Is sedation dentistry safe while breastfeeding?

Most medications used in IV or oral conscious sedation have a low likelihood of affecting breast milk. However, your dentist may recommend nitrous oxide if you are nursing because it leaves your system within a matter of minutes. It’s important to let your dental team know if you are breastfeeding to ensure nothing affects your little one negatively.

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