What is sedation dentistry?

If you've put off seeing the dentist for regular checkups because you're anxious or fearful, you're not alone.  Many people feel the same way. 

You can experience a safe, soothing, anxiety-free dental experience in our office with sedation.

You can choose between any and all forms of dental sedation: nitrous oxide or "Laughing Gas", oral conscious sedation and IV sedation.   We offer it all. 

Some sedation meds do have some amnesia properties, so many patients do not even remember the time spent in the dental chair.

Why should I choose Dr Eckman at Higley Park Dental Care for my sedation dentistry?

  • Before he was a Sedation Dentist, he was a General Dentist,
  • Before he was a General Dentist, he was a Nurse for ten years, and
  • Before he was a nurse for ten years, he was an Army Medic
  • You can be in no safer or more experienced hands.

Why would I benefit from sedation dentistry?

  • Anxiety and fear is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • Pain is minimized.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

Here is an overview of your sedation options:

Nitrous Oxide

You receive Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” by wearing small mask over your nostrils, and breathing it in.  We give it to you throughout your appointment.  You will feel a "floating," "flying," or "high" sensation, and a general sense of well-being.   Most importantly, it relieves your anxiety and fear during the procedure.  You may feel a pleasant tingling and numbness.  There are very few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for decades.

Oral Conscious Sedation

You may prefer Oral Conscious Sedation if you desire a stronger sedative effect, but fear needles.  We would provide you with oral meds (pills) to take, in order to induce a mild to moderate state of sedation.  Then, we layer on nitrous oxide  or "Laughing Gas" for added effect during your appointment.  Though oral sedatives do not put you fully to sleep, they dull your senses to a large degree.  This means that you will not remember your appointment, including the smells or noises associated with the procedure.  This requires a designated driver for the drive home, and the remainder of the day.

IV Conscious Sedation

You may desire an even more fully sedated experience, or perhaps you have not responded to oral sedatives in the past.  With Intravenous Sedation, you will experience a deeper type of sedation (but you won't remember it)!   You may wonder what you'll experience:  Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure, and have no memory of anything that transpired.  You receive IV meds, in some cases after breathing in some Nitrous Oxide first through an IV, directly into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate.   Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn.  This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.



What types of drugs are used in sedation?


Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as "benzodiazepines".  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. 

Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:

Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.

Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties.  A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.

Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety.  It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life.  Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.

Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used.  It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.

If you would like to e-mail Dr Eckman directly, you may do so here.  He loves to answer your questions directly.

Let us help you today.


View More