5901 N. Lidgerwood St. Suite 225, Spokane, WA 509-590-1763 Request Appointment
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Sedation Dentistry


a sedation dentistry patient from NorthView Family Dental
Does the thought of stepping into the dentist office give you anxiety? Would you rather endure the agony of a toothache then come in for your cleaning? You're not alone! A lot of people have a phobia of the dentist.

Sedation dentistry, also called "sleep dentistry" uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Patients are usually awake, with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.

For people who avoid dentists, sedation dentistry may be a solution. Sedation can be used for everything from a simple cleaning to more invasive procedures. How it's used depends on the severity of the fear.

Candidates For Sedation

Sedation is most appropriate for people with a high anxiety, preventing them from going to the dentist.Sedation dentistry may also be appropriate for people who:
•  have a low pain threshold
•  can't sit still in the dentist's chair
•  have very sensitive teeth
•  have a bad gag reflex
•  need a large amount of dental work

Sometimes, children are given sedation if they have anxiety about going to the dentist or refuse to cooperate during the visit.

There is always some risk involved with getting anesthesia. People who are overweight or who have sleep apnea are generally at higher risk and should talk to their doctor before having sedation.

Types and levels of Sedation Dentistry

Minimal sedation:
•  Inhaled sedation: nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," is combined with oxygen through a mask that's placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax, wears off quickly and the amount is easily controlled by your clinician. This is the only form of sedation where you could drive yourself home after the procedure.
Moderate sedation (conscious sedation):
•  Oral sedation: oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you'll still be awake. For a more moderate sedation, a larger dose may be given. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. This form of sedation may make you groggy enough to fall asleep during your procedure, but you can usually be easily awakened.
•  With IV moderate sedation: you receive a sedative drug through a vein, making it work more quickly and allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation.
Deep sedation/general anesthesia:
•  With deep sedation and general anesthesia: you will be given a medications that makes you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious during the procedure. While under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.

Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you'll also typically need a local anesthetic to numb the site where the dentist is working in the mouth.

Performing Sedation

Most dentists can administer minimal sedation and it's common for dentists to be able to give moderate sedation methods, as well. Only a small percentage of dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program in deep sedation and general anesthesia can use more complex sedation techniques. Each state's dental board regulates the use of sedation and requires dentists to hold permits in order to perform sedation.

Call Us Today

If you're interested in seeing if you're a candidate for sedation dentistry and would like to schedule an appointment, call us today, (509) 590-1763.
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Wed: 7am – 7pm
Thur: 7am – 6pm
Fri: 7am – 5pm
Sat: 8am – 4pm



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