While most patients discover the use of our movie headsets and extensive library of movies very effective in occupying their minds and reducing any dental fears, we do provide sedation to our patients if desired. Patient’s have a choice of Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, or oral sedation with Halcion. We do not provide IV sedation.
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Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe. When inhaled, nitrous oxide quickly provides a profound relaxed feeling. At the end of the appointment the effect of the gas sedation quickly dissipates, allowing the patient to drive home. Some patients actually relax enough from the effects of the nitrous oxide that they may fall asleep during the dental procedure.
There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”
- Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs
- Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging
- It works rapidly, in as few as two to three minutes
- It induces relaxation and pain-reduction
- The sedation effect stops when it is discontinued.
Reasons Not To Use Nitrous Oxide
Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, it is not recommended for use if you have emphysema, chest problems, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.
Additionally, there is an $80 per hour charge for the use of the nitrous oxide. Insurance companies rarely cover this as a benefit.
Oral Sedation with Halcion
For the very anxious patient, Halcion sedation may be recommended. Halcion is a small pill that is taken 1 hour before the dental treatment appointment. It is very much like Valium, except that it has a shorter duration period in the system, lasting about three to six hours. Halcion reduces apprehension, giving a very relaxed and comfortable feeling. Patients using Halcion for their dental appointment are required to have someone else drive them to and from their appointment. Patients can still watch movies while having their dental treatment done. Often patients medicated with Halcion fall asleep while their dental treatment is performed.
You should not take this drug if you are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have had an allergic reaction to Halcion or to any other benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium. Halcion should not be taken if you are taking the antifungal medications Nizoral or Sporanox, or the antidepressant Serzone.