Sedation Dentistry

General Dentistry located in Seattle, WA

Sedation Dentistry services offered in Seattle, WA

Unfortunately, many people experience panic, fear, and anxiety when faced with a simple trip to the dentist. Because of this, they may avoid going to the dentist altogether. Over time, this can cause serious repercussions such as prolonged pain, tooth rot, infection, and worse. However, Hanbit Chi, DDS, and Sarah Park, DDS, of Alki Dental, serving Seattle, Washington, and surrounding areas, offer sedation dentistry appointments to qualifying patients. Call the West Seattle office, or book your appointment online for a consultation to discuss sedation dentistry.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry, referred to as “sleep dentistry,” helps patients experiencing anxiety, panic, or dentophobia. It creates a sense of calm, allowing patients to sit through procedures.

There are three levels of sedation:

  • Mild: awake but in a deeply-relaxed or euphoric state
  • Moderate: providing short-term amnesia, drowsiness, and impaired motor skills
  • Deep: a “dreamlike” state at the edge of consciousness

The level of sedation used depends on a patient’s needs, health history, and the procedure being performed.

Who needs dental sedation?

People of all ages, including children. Dentists often recommend this option for people with anxiety, dentophobia, a sensitive gag reflex, a fear of needles, extreme tooth sensitivity, difficulty controlling movements, or claustrophobia. 

What types of sedation are there?

The type of sedation used depends on the severity of your anxiety, your health history, and the type of procedure performed. Three common types of sedation are nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. 

Nitrous oxide, known as “laughing gas,” is the most common type of sedative. Inhaled through a nosepiece, patients tend to feel a sense of euphoria and deep relaxation. This mild sedation dissipates quickly, allowing you to drive home or return to work immediately following an appointment.

Oral sedation is a liquid or pill form of sedative, like Valium® or Halcion®, and achieves moderate sedation levels. This sedation makes patients drowsy but allows enough comprehension to answer questions. Because oral sedation typically inhibits motor skills, patients need to arrange a ride home afterward.

IV sedation allows the medication to take effect immediately by being administered intravenously directly into the bloodstream. This sedation is the deepest and puts you in an almost “dreamlike” state. Because of this, patients need to arrange a ride home after the appointment. Dentists typically reserve this type of sedation for procedures like oral surgery.

Are there risks to sedation dentistry?

Typically, sedation dentistry is completely safe. However, short-term complications like dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and headaches are possible. 

What happens after sedation dentistry?

If mild sedation is used, patients can drive themselves home or resume work after their appointment. Patients should arrange a ride home with a trusted friend or family for moderate or deep sedation. Depending on the medication used, patients can expect to feel “normal” again anywhere from 2 to 24 hours after moderate or deep sedation. 

To learn more about sedation dentistry, call the office or use the online booking tool today.