Sedation Dentistry

Many people speak about dentistry with such a passivity that it can make those patients who prefer to avoid it feel a sense of embarrassment. How is it that some of us can have a root canal performed over our lunch breaks and return to our desks to close out the afternoon while others agonize over whether to attend the appointment at all? We have been attending dental appointments throughout our lives – shouldn’t we be comfortable with it by now? Not necessarily.

Since each human being is unique, it stands to reason that each of us would have a different level of comfort where dental work is concerned. Despite the self-judgment you may be feeling as someone less comfortable in the dental chair, your dentist is not judging your trepidation at all. Patients, both young and old, arrive at the dentist with anxiety sometimes, and our only real concern is how we can offer you the supportive environment you need to feel relaxed during your visit.

Nitrous Oxide
Our clinic offers nitrous oxide to assist those who feel a level of anxiety that stands in the way of a calm and relaxed dental experience. Once you have experienced the effects of this safe and gentle treatment, you’ll know just why it is commonly referred to as laughing gas. With over 100 years of history behind it, nitrous oxide has been used effectively in addition to local anesthetics to provide a feeling of mild euphoria and pain management. The substance is combined with oxygen and delivered through a nasal hood placed over the nose. Nitrous gas has a quick onset of only a matter of seconds, and it wears off completely in only a few minutes. This allows you to return to your vehicle after a procedure, and drive home safely with no lingering effects. Since the gas is inhaled, it is easy to dose and re-dose as needed throughout the procedure while you remain conscious and responsive. In this way, it is easy to control the level of sedation provided without any ‘hangover’ effects from the medication, and it does not require any injections. The effects of nitrous oxide can be described as a tingling feeling in the extremities and a sense of contentedness. Should you require a longer acting medication, your dentist may recommend the use of oral sedative medication.
Oral Sedation
Oral sedation describes the use of the benzodiazepine medications to provide a deeper level of sedation. Benzodiazepines a have a safe history of use, and they derive their effectiveness from their ability to effectively suppress the central nervous system response that results in anxiety (or the flight or flight response). Patients remain conscious and responsive throughout the procedure using oral sedation, though they may not recall the specifics of the appointment. Oral sedation effects leave the patient feeling calm, passive, and drowsy. For this reason, your dentist will direct you to ensure that a driver who is known to you collects you from the appointment and sees you home safely. Since oral sedatives can impact your judgment temporarily, walking home or taking public transit is not a safe alternative. Benzodiazepines are not immediately effective, so your dentist may have you take the medication at home, prior to your appointment, or may request that you arrive early for your appointment in order to allow the medication to take effect before the procedure. This level of sedation is not easily controlled like laughing gas, but it does provide a lasting effect – so prepare to spend the rest of your day napping away the drowsiness. The following day, the effects of the oral medication will have dissipated and you can safely return to your regular activities.

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Preparing For Your Dental Appointment

When you know you have a dentist appointment coming up, the first thing you can do is be easy on yourself in the days leading up to it. Do not be critical of yourself if you find some anxiety creeping into your day. Reassure yourself that this is perfectly normal, and that your dentist will partner with you to ensure that the procedure goes as smoothly as possible. We recommend that you see us for a consult prior to your procedure if it is your first time working with us, since speaking with your dentist about your fears offers the opportunity to discuss your particular concerns and how your needs can be met. Often, building rapport with your dentist by dialoguing, even briefly, can bring a level of trust that puts patients at ease when they arrive for their procedure.

We recommend choosing a low-stress day to have your dental work done. If Mondays are particularly stressful at work, consider choosing a day later in the week when you will have less on your mind. If you feel more comfortable with a friendly face at your side, choose a caring chaperone to accompany you to your appointment. Headphones with your favourite tunes are welcome, and children often benefit from their favourite stuffed animal or blanket with them on the chair.

What about levels of anxiety that cannot be quelled without some medical intervention? If this is you, we are well equipped to assist in that department by using methods of gentle sedation. Be sure to speak to your dentist about whether you are a candidate for sedation prior to your procedure since there are guidelines to adhere to in preparation. Following these directions carefully ensures your safety and increases the likelihood that medications will have their intended effects.


All Services Provided By A General Dentist

Nebula Dental Clinic provides oral health care services to the communities of Ellerslie, Summerside, Orchards, Walker, Charlesworth and the surrounding areas in Edmonton. All services provided by a general dentist.

Clinic Hours

Monday: 9:30am to 6pm
Tuesday: 10am to 6:30pm
Wednesday: 9:30am to 6pm
Thursday: 10am to 6:30pm
Friday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed

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