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Sedation Dentistry

Houston Sedation Dentistry - Dr. Bill K. So - Westway Park Dental


Sedation dentistry is highly effective in the management of mild to moderate levels of dental anxiety. Sedation is recommended for apprehensive patients and those who have difficulty getting numb.  Additonally, sedation usually eliminates or minimizes gagging in most patients, so it is an option for patients who gag easily.  It is also an option for patients who have medical problems such as angina pectoris, persons who have had a heart attack, or persons with high blood pressure, asthma or epilepsy.  Please inform the doctor of all your medical conditions before treatment using sedation begins. 

You can relax for up to five to six hours after sedation, where the time relaxed will depend on the treatment performed and type of anesthesia delivered.  With sedation, dental treatments that usually require multiple appointments can be done in as few as one or two appoinments.  Sedation dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue and inconvenience of multiple, long dental treatments.  

The following is an overview of the types of sedation we offer.

Conscious Sedation

This form of sedation involves the use of nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas."  It has calming effects to relieve pain and anxiety.  A rubber inhaler will be placed over your nose and the nitrous oxide will be slowly administered to a level comfortable for you.  Inhalation sedation dentistry should not be used with persons who are claustrophobic or with persons who are unable to breathe through their nose.

Oral Sedation

This sedation technique requires you take a pill that allows you to relax prior to the dental procedure.  Safe and convenient, oral sedation when properly used can result in more relaxation state than conscious sedation. This sedation option may be right for you if you suffer more from the thought of coming in than actually being here.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation

IV Sedation FAQs

1)  How does IV Sedation work?

You will receive drugs which work rapidly to create a relaxed state that is maintained and monitored throughout treatment.  IV Sadation also allows us to complete multiple procedures in one appointment.  You will have little or no memory of the experience.  You really can relax through your dental procedure(s).  Breathing is done on your own and is not assisted with a machine as in a hospital setting.  You will need to have someone accompany you to drive you to and from the dental office.  Due to the effects of the medication, driving is dangerous after IV sedation.

2)  How is IV Sedation administered?

An IV is started with a very thin needle in a vein on the arm or the back of your hand, allowing all sedative medications to enter your body rapidly. 

3)  How long will I be relaxing?

The time of sedation depends on the treatment performed and if there will be one or multiple procedures.  It can last anywhere from two to six hours.  Afterward, three to four hours of rest is necessary.

4)  Is IV Sedation safe?

Yes, it is very safe.  You will be under the constant supervision of the specially-trained doctor.

5)  Are you a candidate for IV Sedation?

IV sedation is offered to patients with the following conditions:

Fear of dental treatment
Difficulty or disdain for getting numb
Very sensitive teeth and/or gag reflex
Complex dental problems and limited time to get it completed  
Personal embarrassment about your teeth
Unbearable dental problem causing extreme pain
Have not received professional dental care in many years
Experience sweaty palms or find yourself gripping the armrests

Before IV sedation procedures:

1)  Arrangements must be made for a responsible adult to drive you home after IV sedation.  You will not be able to leave the clinic if unescorted and should not plan on driving the remainder of the day.
2)  Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.  Any food in your stomach may make you nauseous or sick during sedation.  The doctor will not perform the sedation if you ate or drank anything 8 hours prior.
3)  You are advised to wear loose-fitting clothes and shirt/blouse with short sleeves, to make it easier for the doctor to start your IV.
4)  Should you develop symptoms of bein ill, the appointment should be rescheduled to a time when you are physically fit.
5)  You should continue to take your usual medcations unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.  Such medications should be taken with as little as possible.

After IV sedation procedures:

1)  Go home and rest for the remainder of the day.
2)  Do not perform any strenuous activity.  Be careful climbing stairs.  You should remain in the company of a responsible adult until you are fully alert.
3)  Do not eat heavy foods immediately.  Eat a light diet (such as liquids and toast).
4)  A feeling of nauseau may occasionally develop after sedation.  Laying down or slowly sipping on a carbonated beverage may help.
5)  Do not operate a motor vehicle or dangerous machinery or power tools the rest of the day.
6)  Do not consume alcohol or unprescribed medications for 24 hours.