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Sedation Dentistry in Pittsburgh

Sit Back, Relax, and Smile

How do you feel when you go to the dentist? If you’re like most people, you’re probably a little nervous, or you may actually be scared. At our office, we’re able to help our most anxious patients relax thanks to sedation dentistry. Using the techniques outline below, we can help calm your mind and protect you from pain all at the same time. If you would be interested in using dental sedation at your next appointment, simply contact us today.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Woman relaxing with nitrous oxide dental sedation in Pittsburgh

Nitrous oxide is a colorless, odorless gas that has been used to help dental patients of all ages relax for well over 100 years. At our office, you’ll simply inhale it through a small nasal mask, and within minutes, you’ll start feeling light, happy, and maybe even euphoric in the chair. We can adjust the amount of nitrous you receive during your appointment to keep you comfortable the entire time. Plus, once we remove the mask, the gas’s effect will wear off almost instantly, allowing you to go straight back to your day.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Nitrous Oxide Sedation?

patient and dentist discussing who is a candidate for nitrous oxide sedation in Pittsburgh

You may be more familiar with nitrous oxide sedation’s nickname laughing gas. This light form of dental sedation is often a good choice for patients of nearly any age facing a variety of reasons they may not enjoy dental visits. You may be a candidate for nitrous oxide sedation if:

  • You need a little help relaxing in the dental chair, or dental treatments make you nervous
  • You typically don’t respond well to numbing medications alone
  • You have trouble sitting comfortably in the dental chair, perhaps from neck, back, or jaw pain
  • You have very sensitive teeth or an overactive gag reflex that makes dental work uncomfortable
  • You’ll be completing several treatments at once or undergoing a complex procedure

However, not everyone is a good candidate for nitrous oxide sedation. We won’t recommend this option for you if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have certain medical conditions or are taking certain prescriptions, or if you are experiencing nasal congestion. We’ll meet with you before your treatment to determine if nitrous oxide dental sedation is the best way to help you relax during your appointment.

How Does Nitrous Oxide Sedation Work?

Man relaxing with nitrous oxide in Pittsburgh

Nitrous oxide sedation is administered via a small nose mask. Within just a few moments of breathing in the light sedative, you’ll feel a warm, tingling, and light sensation wash over your body, and your anxieties will melt away. Nitrous oxide will not put you to sleep or knock you unconscious. You’ll remain alert enough to respond to our basic questions and instructions, but you’ll be oblivious to the sights, sounds, and sensations that would typically cause you distress. We’ll monitor you closely throughout your treatment. If needed, we’ll be able to adjust your level of sedation at any moment to ensure you are as safe and comfortable as possible.

Aftercare for Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Woman feeling great after nitrous oxide sedation in Pittsburgh

One of the many reasons our patients love nitrous oxide sedation is that it has no lasting side-effects. There is virtually no aftercare to worry about! Once we remove the nose mask, you’ll return to your normal level of alertness within just a few minutes. In fact, you’ll be able to drive yourself home from your appointment and continue on with the rest of your day without interruption!

Oral Conscious Sedation

closeup of person taking oral sedative in Pittsburgh

If you experience more acute dental phobia, our team can prescribe you a sedative that you’ll take about an hour before your scheduled visit so that by the time you reach our office, you’ll already be deeply physically and mentally relaxed. You’ll remain awake and be able to respond to commands, but time will seem to fly by very quickly, and you’ll likely have little memory of your visit after (which some patients prefer!).

What Is Oral Conscious Sedation?

closeup of person taking oral sedative in Pittsburgh

Oral conscious sedation is the most popular method of sedation dentistry, mainly because it’s effective and easy to use. During your consultation, we’ll review your medical history and inquire about any current medications or allergies to determine whether or not this option is right for you.

We’ll provide you with a stronger or weaker pill depending on the severity of your nervousness. Mild forms of the sedative are designed to make you feel drowsy, while moderate forms are likely to cause you to fall into a light sleep. The effects usually kick in within 15 minutes and are long-lasting, which means you’ll need to have a trusted friend or family member drive you around.

How Does Oral Conscious Sedation Work?

Relaxed man in dental chair

You’ll be instructed to take your oral sedative at least an hour before your appointment. Once you get to our office, you should feel completely relaxed and ready for your treatment. Keep in mind that the effects linger throughout the entire appointment, which is why it’s important to have a trusted individual drive you to and from your visit.

While the sedation may not put you to sleep entirely, you’ll probably have trouble remembering parts of your appointment after the medication wears off. However, you’ll still be conscious enough to communicate with our team during your procedure. We’ll monitor your vitals the entire time to ensure you’re safe. Afterward, it’s a good idea to wait until the sedative has worn off before resuming regular activities like work.

Are You a Good Candidate for Oral Conscious Sedation?

patient having consultation with dentist in Pittsburgh

This type of sedation is typically recommended for patients with severe dental anxiety and fear. However, it’s also a great option for people who:

  • Need to undergo multiple treatments in one visit
  • Have a sensitive gag reflex or low tolerance for dental discomfort
  • Cannot sit comfortably in the treatment chair for a long time
  • Are unable to get numb with local anesthesia
  • Had bad dental experiences in the past

Sedation Dentistry FAQs

White question mark on blackboard

You’ve likely heard several rumors about sedation dentistry in Pittsburgh, so it’s normal to have a few concerns before you’re ready to agree to it. Thankfully, much of what you’ve heard probably isn’t true. Dental sedation is safe and effective when administered by a trained professional. We’ll explain everything during your consultation to calm your nerves. In the meantime, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions to make an educated decision for your smile.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

Dental sedation is safe for most patients, but you’ll require a consultation to ensure you’re a candidate. Your dentist will review your current medications and health history to look for any potential negative interactions. Your dental team will always monitor your vitals to ensure you’re safe, and Dr. Rairigh is specially trained in nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. You can sit back and relax knowing you and your smile are in qualified hands to reach your oral health goals without added stress.

Is sedation dentistry safe while breastfeeding?

It is unlikely medications used in oral conscious sedatives will affect your breastmilk; however, if you’re concerned, nitrous oxide may be a better option. It leaves your system within just a few minutes after you stop inhaling it, so you won’t need to worry about any lingering consequences.

Will I remember anything with dental sedation?

Nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation don’t render you unconscious. Instead, you’ll reach a deep level of relaxation, so you may even drift off to sleep. It’s more likely you’ll remember your procedure with nitrous oxide, but you won’t feel anything. There’s a chance oral conscious sedatives can cause a memory loss effect, which can be helpful for patients who have had bad dental experiences in the past.

Will I feel any pain with dental sedation?

Although you’ll remain conscious, you won’t feel any pain. Your dentist will use sedation with a local numbing agent to ensure you’re completely comfortable. While you may feel pressure, it won’t be painful. Depending on the procedure, your mouth can be a little tender after the sedative and numbing agent wears off. You can manage any discomfort using an over-the-counter pain reliever and by following your dentist’s aftercare instructions.

Am I a good candidate for sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry can help patients with a variety of unique circumstances, like dental-related fears or phobias. If your palms sweat when it’s time to sit in the dental chair, sedation can help you relax, so you can stop avoiding your dentist. It’s also a good option for patients who have difficulty keeping their jaw open or have a strong gag reflex. Dental sedation is often recommended for patients who need an invasive or lengthy procedure. Time will fly by as your dentist performs any necessary treatments quickly and efficiently. Your dentist will consider your medical history and any medications carefully when determining if sedation is right for you. Depending on your case, they may recommend nitrous oxide, which is the safest dental sedative.