In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of dentists providing and the number of patients utilizing sedation dentistry. Also called “sleep dentistry”, sedation dentistry is a great service on many levels. There are three major types of sedation used in dental offices: nitrous oxide sedation, oral conscious sedation, and intravenous conscious sedation. Of those offering these services, the type of sedation provided by your dentist depends on his or her training and comfort level.
The most basic sedation technique is nitrous oxide sedation. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” was first discovered in the late 1700’s, paving the way for modern anesthesia. Its use in dentistry did not become widespread until the late 1800’s. Nitrous oxide is useful in reducing fear and anxiety. It also acts to decrease one’s perception of time, allowing a long appointment to feel much shorter for the patient. Nitrous oxide is particularly useful when treating children, allowing an apprehensive child to receive needed dental care. While helpful for adults with dental anxiety, nitrous oxide is considered the lowest level of sedation and may not provide the level of sedation desired by one with moderate to severe anxiety.
A second type of sedation is oral conscious sedation, or “pill-form sedation”. Oral sedation is practiced by many dentists and involves taking pills before or during your dental appointment. Oral sedation can be a nice way to relieve anxiety and allow a state of drowsiness during shorter appointments in patients with mild to moderate fear. For most dentists, this is the deepest type of sedation offered. Unfortunately, patients with high anxiety may not respond well to oral sedation.
A deeper type of sedation is Intra-Venous conscious sedation (IVCS). IVCS is provided by dentists who have attended a residency program following dental school to obtain additional training in sedation techniques. IVCS is the preferred method for patients with moderate to severe anxiety. It is also useful for very long procedures or high-stress dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal or a root canal. Because of the educational requirements, not many dentists provide IVCS.
At Hutto Premier Dentistry multiple sedation options are available and conveniently located in Hutto. Following dental school, Dr. McEntire completed a residency at the UT Health Science Center Dental School and University Hospital in San Antonio, which had a large emphasis on sedation dentistry. Dr. McEntire provides several routes of sedation including nitrous oxide, oral sedation, IV conscious sedation, intra-muscular sedation, and intra-nasal sedation. If you find dental care stressful or simply would like to be more relaxed Dr. McEntire can help determine the most appropriate level of sedation to maximize your comfort.
I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the prestigious University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School, graduating with dual Honors.