How Safe Is Dental Sedation? A Dentist Offers Answers By Gooch Dental on May 01, 2024

A patient undergoing sedation dentistry

Sedation dentistry is an amazing option for patients who experience anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist. It is also a great option for certain treatments, patients who have low pain tolerance, those who can’t sit long, and special needs patients. However, many patients wonder if sedation is safe. At Gooch Dental in Birmingham, AL, we use nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation to help patients relax and remain comfortable during treatment. Let’s explore sedation dentistry and its safety.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry involves using sedation methods to help patients remain comfortable during virtually any dental treatment. Our Birmingham dental practice uses nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation.

Nitrous Oxide

This method of sedation works quickly and wears off quickly once it is stopped. Patients breath in the gas and experience relaxation. Because it wears off quickly, patients can drive themselves to and from their appointments. You will be completely conscious during this treatment but will be relaxed and comfortable.

Oral Conscious Sedation

This method of sedation is a bit deeper. Your dentist, Dr. Burton Gooch, will prescribe you an anxiety medication to take before your procedure. You will be deeply relaxed but able to respond to your dental team throughout treatment. Some patients will not even remember their visit. It is important to remember that you will need a responsible adult to drive you to and from your appointment.

Is Sedation Safe?

During your initial consultation, Dr. Gooch will discuss if sedation is a good choice for you. He will also look at your health history and discuss any previous experiences with sedation to decide which method of sedation will benefit you the most and which is safest for you. It is important to tell Dr. Gooch if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Take any medications
  • Have had any adverse effects from sedation in the past
  • Have any health issues
  • Are allergic to any of the medications used

Generally, sedation is considered safe, especially when a skilled dentist and team monitor you.

Your dentist will adjust any dosing to ensure your safety. With nitrous oxide, we will monitor you until we are sure it has worn off. With oral conscious sedation, it may take several hours to wear off, so it is often suggested that a responsible adult remain with you until it has completely worn off. We will monitor you while you are at our practice and only release you to go home when we are confident you can do so safely.

Are There Potential Side Effects?

While side effects are rare, the most common side effects with nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Amnesia
  • Sluggishness/sleepiness

In some cases, more severe side effects may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Allergic reaction

If you experience any symptoms, you can call our Birmingham dental practice. However, for more severe symptoms such as an allergic reaction, it is best to visit an ER or call 911, especially if you have trouble breathing or have any swelling of the face, throat, mouth, or tongue.

Want to Learn More About Sedation?

If you have put off dental visits because of fear or anxiety, or you have other issues that make dental treatments difficult, contact our dental practice to learn more about sedation dentistry and find out if it is right for you.

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Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental is dedicated to providing convenient, comprehensive dentistry to the community in Birmingham, AL. We take advantage of the latest dental technology to streamline treatment, and deliver fast, beautiful results. Our proud affiliations include:

  • The American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Birmingham District Dental Society
  • The Alabama Dental Association

You can learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 991-9892.

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"I have never received such individual attention and care, from the moment I walked in the door through the entire cleaning and exam. A completely comfortable and satisfying experience. I look forward to having Dr. Gooch's team take care of my dental health for years to come." Amber L.

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