Sedation Dentistry

At Horizon Dental, we know that the dental clinic is rarely anyone’s favourite place, and that for some patients it can be a struggle just to walk in the door.

For this reason, Dr. Nagel has undergone training so that we can offer several different types of sedation to make these appointments easy and comfortable. Any type of dental treatment can be provided with sedation. It can help our team complete more procedures in fewer appointments, and more complex procedures in less time.

Oral Sedation (Pills or Liquid)

  • The simplest type of sedation is using a sedative medication like Ativan, which can help “take the edge” off during a dental appointment. Patients are completely awake and aware, just more relaxed. This pill is taken usually 30-60 minutes before the appointment, with the effects lasting only a few hours for most people.
  • For more invasive procedures, or very anxious patients, as stronger sedative can be used. Patients are always monitored carefully for side effects when using these medications, but the big advantage is amnesia – even though you are awake the whole time, most patients don’t remember a thing! This is a very effective sedative technique for adults and children.

Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

  • Laughing gas is the best tolerated sedative for the dental office. It’s often used on children, but also works well on adults to provide a more profound feeling of relaxation and euphoria with the fastest recovery period.
  • The patient wears a nosepiece and it’s as simple as breathing in/out through your nose! Once the appointment is over, breathing 100% oxygen clears the gas from the lungs and you’re back to normal.
  • Sometimes, especially with children, the nitrous oxide is combined with an oral sedative for maximum effectiveness with minimal side effects.

IV Sedation or Sleep Dentistry

  • IV Sedation is the crème-de-la-crème of in-office sedative techniques. It requires placing an IV and delivering a sedative medication directly to the bloodstream. It is the most effective type of “conscious” sedation, especially for prolonged or invasive treatment such as wisdom teeth extractions. 
  • These sedative medications help patients to enter a state of total relaxation while remaining fully conscious and able to communicate with the dental team. The amnesic effects of these medications often result in no memory of the dental appointment.

General Anesthesia

  • Some patients are too young or are unable to cooperate with dental treatment in the office due to poor behaviour or special needs.
  • For these cases, Dr. Nagel can offer to complete basic dental treatment under general anesthesia in the Royal Inland Hospital or Kamloops Surgical Center.
  • All the necessary dental treatment will be completed while the patient is “put to sleep” by an certified anesthesiologist and nursing team.
  • However, the waiting times are often 4-6 months long and as such are reserved only for patients in need of this service.

What are the downsides to sedation?

  • Although sedation is a safe, routine dental service, rare emergencies can occur. During the appointment, the patient is carefully monitored by a team member specifically trained and designated to ensure his/her safety.  Dr. Nagel is also trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) & Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Life Support (PALS) and our office is equipped to handle these situations. Your health and well-being, and that your family, is our top priority.
  • The #1 side effect of any sedative is nausea/vomiting. For this reason, patients are instructed to not eat/drink prior to the appointment.
  • Not all sedatives work on everyone, especially children. Sometimes the team will try a technique, and it may not work. However, there is always another option and it may be necessary to explore different types of treatment to find what works best for you or your child.
  • Some insurance plans don’t cover sedation – it’s important to check the details of your plan prior to committing to any treatment plan.
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