Conscious Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of medications to help patients to relax during their dental treatment.

Conscious sedation is used for several reasons:

  • Sedation helps anxious or phobic patients to relax
  • Sedation is used during long procedures for those who find it difficult to sit still
  • Sedation helps relieve a strong gag reflex
  • Sedation helps those who have difficulty getting numb with other anesthetics alone
  • Sedation helps those who have a low pain tolerance

Conscious sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to help patients stay comfortable during their dental visits. There are several levels of sedation available to our patients. During your first visit with Dr. Crawford, he will talk with you about sedation options and if sedation is right for you.

  • Nitrous Oxide Sedation
  • Oral Conscious Sedation

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide is commonly known as "laughing gas." Administered with a mixture of oxygen, nitrous oxide is breathed through a nose piece and has a calming effect that helps anxious patients to relax during their dental treatment. Patients are able to talk and respond to the dentist during treatment and, after a short period at the end of the dental visit, the effects of nitrous wear off almost immediately. Patients are able to drive home after their visit.

Oral Conscious Sedation

A higher level of sedation is oral conscious sedation and is achieved with an oral medication (commonly diazepam) in conjunction with nitrous oxide. Patients swallow a dosage of small pills about an hour before their dental appointment. Once the medication takes effect, Dr. Crawford will start the needed dental procedure. Patients are able to respond to verbal requests by the dentist during treatment, are very relaxed and may not remember much of their dental visit. When oral sedation is administered, the patient cannot drive for the rest of the day and will need to arrange for transportation.