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Sedation Dentistry

If you suffer from dental anxiety, we can help make sure you get the dental care you need


Conscious Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry is for adults who may have dental anxiety or difficulty undergoing needed dental care. Prior to sedation dentistry, we perform a careful screening for any medical conditions that may prevent a patient from being a candidate.

Patients take the sedation pill the night before the office visit. Sedated patients are not able to drive and require an escort to and from the office. Your escort must agree stay with you for the next 12 hours.

What to expect at your Sedation Dentistry Appointment
Sedated patients will feel very drowsy by the time they reach the office. A staff member will take you to a comfortable chair where we will monitor your vital signs throughout your visit. Dr. Higgs will begin your treatment when you are resting comfortably. After the procedure, your escort will drive you home. Many patients do not remember even being at our office.

Will you be unconscious?
Conscious oral sedation dentistry is also called sleep dentistry and does not put one to sleep. However, many patients choose to sleep through their procedures while sedated. While under sedation patients are very relaxed and be able to respond.

Does my escort have to stay at the office?
During the procedure, your escort is free to stay in our office, or leave and come back to pick you up at the end of the procedure.

Is there any IV?
No intravenous, no tubes or needles. You just simply swallow a sedation pill.

Will I feel anything?
No, the procedure is painless. You will feel no discomfort.

How long does sedation last?
You will be sedated for 2 to 8 hours


IV (Intravenous) Sedation

During IV sedation, patients remain conscious and are able to understand and respond to requests from the dentist. Just about all patients don’t remember their appointments.

  • IV sedation induces a state of anti-anxiety deep relaxation and an feeling of not being worried by the procedure.
  • IV sedation produces partial or full memory loss (amnesia) for many patients during the time when the drug is administered until after it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly and because many patients remember nothing at all, one may think that they were “asleep” during the procedure.

Intravenous (“IV”) Conscious Sedation Procedure
Our highly-trained staff go to great lengths to reduce your anxiety and make your dental experience more relaxing with far less fear. We take the time to listen to what you want and what your needs are, explain available treatment options and clarify dental treatment procedures in easy to understand terms.

We commonly use Versed (generic name midazolam). Nitrous oxide may also be used in combination. This sedation combination allows a lower dosage of the IV medication to produce the desired sedative effect.

Prior to sedation dentistry, we perform a careful screening for any medical conditions that may prevent a patient from being a candidate. Throughout the procedure, we monitor our patients’ vital statistics and the sedation effect.

It is required for you to have an escort, whom you have arranged, arrive with you for the appointment and take you home after a period of monitored recovery in the office. It is also very important for you to have nothing to eat or drink for at least six hours before an intravenous sedation.

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Nitrous Oxide

Is laughing gas safe?
Nitrous Oxide (N2O), commonly called “Laughing Gas” is one of the safest forms of sedation available to alleviate anxiety during dental procedures.

How does laughing gas affect patients?
It is simply a gas, which you breathe in through a small personal mask. Nitrous Oxide is colorless gas which decreases pain sensitivity and gives the patient a sense of decreased proximity to the dental experience. It is sweet-smelling, and nonirritating. The onset of the effects of nitrous oxide is felt within minutes, and these effects wear off soon after the mask is removed. The patient begins to feel a pleasant level of sedation in anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes. The cheeks and gums will also begin to feel numb in about a third of the patients. This means you are 100% ready to independently carry on your life after the use of nitrous oxide.

After the gas is adjusted to the appropriate dose, and the patient is relaxed and sedated, the dentist can comfortably give the anesthetic injection (if needed) to the patient, and then proceed with the dental treatment. After the treatment is completed, the patient is given pure oxygen to breathe for about five minutes, and all the effects of the sedation are usually reversed. Unlike sedation or general anesthesia, the patient can almost always leave the office by themselves, without an escort.

What if I’m very sensitive to sedation?
Almost anyone can have nitrous oxide treatment. We can vary the depth of sedation depending on your level of anxiety. Nitrous oxide gas also tends to reduce gag reflexes and saliva flow. Most importantly, you will bask in a feeling of relaxation while breathing nitrous oxide gas as we care for you.

What should I know before using laughing gas?
As a precaution, patients should not eat anything for about two hours prior to use of the gas. Nitrous oxide has few side effects although high doses can cause nausea in some patients, and about 10% of patients do not benefit from it. Patients that are claustrophobic or have blocked nasal passages cannot use nitrous oxide effectively. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest anesthetics available.

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