Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Relaxed Dentistry

In my previous blog entitled, Scared of the Dentist, I discussed the fearful patient. You may want to read it to provide some insight.

Sedation is a nice option that allows the fearful patient to address their oral concerns in a relaxed and comfortable setting. I will briefly discuss three options. Each of these options have advantages and disadvantages.

Nitrous Oxide

A mask for Nitrous Oxide gas
Most people are familiar with the first option. It is commonly known to most people as laughing gas. This gas is Nitrous Oxide. It is a colorless and odorless gas. It makes people feel euphoric and relaxed.

The advantage of this method is the almost instant effect once it is inhaled. The effect also dissipates fairly quickly after the inhalation of the gas is ceased.

There are potential negative side effects for the patients breathing Nitrous Oxide. Nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects.

I personally do not offer this option. Although it may be safe to patients, long term exposure is potentially very detrimental to the dental team and their future children.

Oral Sedation

The most common oral sedation drug 
Oral sedation is usually my preferred option. A pill is typically swallowed 30 minutes to an hour prior to the appointment.

The pill is in the same class of drugs as Valium. It makes you feel very relaxed. It's preferable to Valium because the effect is more profound and it dissipates quicker. This way, there is a reduction in the post operative sedation time.

Another advantage with this technique is that memory during the procedure is often affected. Many people desire this effect.

A disadvantage with this option is that the sedation effect lasts the longest when compared to the extremely rapid recovery times of the other two techniques.

IV Sedation

Sedation monitored during procedure
IV sedation can be performed in a hospital setting or in a clinical setting. Some people are extremely apprehensive about dentistry. In these cases, the only option may be IV sedation.

The advantage with IV sedation is that all necessary treatment can be completed in single visit. A second visit may be required depending on the treatment.

IV sedation does have the disadvantage of expense. It is the most costly option. However, it can also save money when all of the treatment can be completed in a single appointment. This will require less time off from work and eliminates the expense of multiple sedations.


Everyone has different needs and circumstances. If you are anxious about dentistry,discuss concerns with your dentist so that he/she can come up with a tailored plan for you.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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