Many people in Las Vegas are unfamiliar with the idea of sedation dentistry. And those who do know what sedation dentistry is may think of it as a limited solution, something that applies to other people in specific situations.

The truth is that many people can benefit from sedation dentistry because it is applicable in a variety of situations. So how do you know whether sedation dentistry is right for you and your situation?

Check out our brief guide to see if sedation dentistry might be right for you.

Female dental patient smiling after using sedation to help with her cosemetic dental needs in Summerlin. While sedation dentistry is mostly known as a treatment for dental anxiety, it can actually be used in many different situations.

What Makes a Good Candidate?

Sedation dentistry is potentially right for anyone who will benefit from the treatment. While sedation dentistry is mostly known as a treatment for dental anxiety, it can actually be used in many different situations, including:

  • Dental anxiety
  • Stress related to sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office
  • Sensitive gag reflex
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • Tension and soreness during or after an appointment
  • Long procedures that might be hard to sit through

Of course, dental anxiety is the main reason why people seek out sedation dentistry. That’s because dental anxiety is very common. It’s the second most common phobia–after spiders. Sedation dentistry is especially helpful for people who have been avoiding the dentist for a long time, but it can also help people considering cosmetic dentistry.

For many people, stress at the dentist doesn’t come from specific thoughts or fears about a dental procedure, it’s just the sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office that cause an automatic reaction. It’s irrational, and therefore hard to control. Sedation can help with that, giving you control over your fear.

Some people have a very sensitive gag reflex that can make it impossible or at least extremely unpleasant to get dental work done. For many this is related to anxiety, but whether it is or not, sedation can help keep it under control.

Other people find they have difficulty getting numb. This might be secondary to anxiety, too: when you’re anxious, your body burns through anesthesia. But it might also be that you’re just very sensitive. Sedation acts as a second layer of pain prevention to help you stay more comfortable during treatment.

For some people, the discomfort of dentistry isn’t directly related to the treatment. Instead, it’s sitting in the chair that causes the difficulty. Dental treatment might make you tense your muscles, causing them to be sore either during or after your appointment. This could even be related to holding your jaw open. Sedation relaxes you and reduces tension.

Speaking of sitting for a dental treatment, sometimes your care might require really long appointments. These appointments can be difficult to sit through without help. Sedation dentistry makes it easier to spend more time in the dental chair, which can help you get the smile results you’re looking for.

What Disqualifies Candidates for Sedation Dentistry?

On the other hand, not everyone who will benefit from sedation can actually take advantage of it. While most people are good candidates for sedation dentistry, there are some reasons why it might not be right for you, such as:

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory disease
  • Certain medications
  • Sleep apnea
  • Consuming alcohol before or after appointment
  • No one to stay with you

While either youth or advanced age will technically disqualify you for sedation dentistry, it does make us cautious. For young children, it’s recommended only in critical situations, and parents should work with a dentist who has extensive skill and experience in sedation dentistry for children. If you are an older patients, you are more likely to fall into the other categories where you might be disqualified.

Sedation dentistry is not recommended during pregnancy. We can still use local anesthesia, but sedation is not proven safe in this condition.

As with other medications, you have to be careful about allergies when getting sedation dentistry. Fortunately, the multiple sedation options usually means that you still have some options.

Sedation dentistry can suppress your breathing. If your breathing is already impaired for other reasons, this can become dangerous. We use careful monitoring to ensure the safety of our patients, but in some cases, the risk is too high.

Some medications can interact with the sedation medications, causing either a dangerous increased effect or a reduction in effectiveness. Make sure you tell us all medications you are taking–and don’t forget to mention natural supplements.

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition in which breathing stops at night. It can impact the health of your heart and has been shown to have negative interactions with sedation medications.

And, of course, you need to be smart about your sedation dentistry. Alcohol can have negative interactions with sedation medications, so you can’t drink alcohol before a sedation appointment or while the medications are still in your body.

With many types of sedation, you won’t be in a condition to drive yourself to or from your appointment, so you need someone to take you. And you need someone to stay with you after your appointment. If you can’t arrange this with friends or family, you can potentially hire a nurse to help.

A female patient sitting with James B. Polley, DDS discussing her sedation dentistry option in his Summerlin office.

Choosing the Best Sedation Dentistry Option for You

Not all sedation dentistry is the same. There are three main types of sedation dentistry:

  • Oral sedation
  • Inhaled sedation
  • IV sedation

Oral sedation is simple. You just take a pill either before you get to our office or in the waiting room. Once the medication takes effect, you’re be in a relaxed, conscious state. The depth and duration of sedation is controlled by using different medications and doses. This is good for people with mild to moderate anxiety.

With inhaled sedation, you will breathe a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. This takes effect quickly and wears off quickly, so with this type of sedation, you can drive yourself to and from appointments. It is only good for mild anxiety, but it offers more pain control than oral sedation.

IV sedation can give you the deepest state of sedation out of any sedation types. It requires more careful monitoring both during and after your procedure. It is best for moderate to severe anxiety.

Considering Sedation Dentistry in Las Vegas?

Of course, the only way to really know if you’re a candidate for sedation dentistry is by scheduling an appointment with a dentist who can evaluate you.

Are you looking for a dentist to provide sedation dentistry in Las Vegas? The office of Dr. James B. Polley is one of the few offices in the area that can offer IV sedation, which requires additional certification for the dentist and dental team, as well as additional equipment in the office. We are equipped to provide IV sedation safely.

To learn more about sedation dentistry options and which is right for you, please call (702) 873-0324 for an appointment at the office of Dr. James B. Polley in Las Vegas.