Nitrous oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70 percent oxygen with no less than 30 percent nitrous oxide. It is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which is inhaled. The patient is able to breathe on his or her own and remain in control of all bodily functions.
The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment.
There are many advantages to using nitrous oxide
The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
There is no after effect such as a “hangover”
Inhalation sedation is safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs
Inhalation sedation is very effective in minimizing gagging
It works rapidly reaching the brain within 20 seconds. In as few as two to three minutes, it’s relaxation and pain-killing properties develop.
Reasons Not To Use Nitrous Oxide
Though there are no major contraindications to using nitrous oxide, you may not want to use it if you have emphysema, chest problems, multiple sclerosis, a cold, or other difficulties with breathing.
You may want to ask your dentist for a five-minute trial to see how you feel with this type of sedation method before proceeding.
Conscious Oral Sedation
For most patients who experience mild to moderate anxiety associated with dental treatment, nitrous oxide is an ideal way to make them comfortable during their procedure. However, there are patients who require more than nitrous oxide can offer. Dr. Lakkis recognize that portion of the population classified as moderate to severely anxious, and who require a step above the norm. By using a combination of medications that are administered orally, extremely nervous, anxious or apprehensive patients are able to complete the required dental treatment easily and comfortably.
Dr. Lakkis may recommend oral conscious sedation as a preferred method of anxiety control to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during your procedure. Conscious sedation is a safe drug-induced state which you are conscious and pleasantly relaxed, yet free of fear, anxiety and apprehension. This is a safe and effective way to feel comfortable and confident during your periodontal treatment.
Your vital signs are carefully monitored during the interval of the procedure. You will need to have a driver to and from the office the day of the appointment and must not drive or operate machinery the day following your treatment. The majority of patients do not remember anything about their procedure.
For patients who require deeper sedation, we also have an anesthesiologist who comes on-site while we perform your dental treatment. Dr. Lakkis will explain your options and describe the one thats best for you.
Intravenous Sedation (“Twilight Sedation”)
Our office offers our patients the option of Intravenous Sedation, also referred to as Dental Intravenous Anesthesia, or “Twilight Sedation,” for their dental treatment. This is what sets our office apart from other dental practices; it is our niche, if you will.
Intravenous Sedation or “twilight sleep” helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. Your treatment can be completed for you under intravenous sedation, if you so desire. Intravenous sedation or “IV sedation” (twilight sedation) is designed to better enable you undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed. It will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep a “twilight sleep”.If you choose the option of intravenous sedation your IV sedation/anesthesia is administered and monitored by Dr. Lakkis, therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same-day surgical facility.
How is the IV Sedation Administered?
A thin needle will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. At times a patient’s vein may not be able to sustain a needle for the length of the procedure. In this case, the medications will be administered and the needle retrieved. Both scenarios will achieve the same desired level of conscious sedation. Once again some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and may not sleep at all.The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. With IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. IV sedation is very safe!
Along with IV sedation there are also different “levels” of sedation available to you in our office. There is nitrous oxide analgesia and oral sedation or nitrous oxide in combination with oral sedation basically we can tailor the anesthesia to your need or desire. Once again, all modalities are administered and monitored by Dr. Lakkis in the safety and comfort of our office environment.
Sedation dentistry is also a great option for the elderly, the disabled, or simply- the fearful!
Sedation Dentistry for the Elderly
As we age, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of our daily lives. To lead full and active lives, we need our teeth and gums. They allow us enjoy food, support speech and good conversation, and facilitate digestion. Dr. Lakkis is dedicated to treating elderly patients with care and commitment to comfort and health.
Elderly patients as a group tend to avoid dental visits for a variety of reasons, including: more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once their oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment further keep these patients away from the dentist.
For elderly patients embarrassed or fearful of their current oral state, sedation dentistry provides the opportunity for Dr. Lakkis to treat these conditions while the patient remains relaxed and unaware until “awaking” to an improved oral state!
Sedation Dentistry for the Disabled
It may be especially difficult for people with disabilities to obtain access to proper dental care. They must find a dentist who is skilled and compassionate, and who can provide services for which some dentists may not be qualified. At Alexandria Periodontics, we provide the expertise, state-of-the-art-equipment, and dedication to assisting special-needs patients necessary to ensuring great oral care for our patients.
Disabled patients may face added challenges in maintaining their oral health. Their disability may make it difficult to brush or floss regularly; they may also suffer a severe gag reflux, or dry mouth as a result of medication. Dr. Lakkis meets these challenges with sedation dentistry for the disabled. Dr. Lakkis is skilled in anesthesia for special-needs patients, and can ease the fear associated with out-of-control oral hygiene with one visit.
Sedation Dentistry for the Fearful
Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people. Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles or drills, and severe gag refluxes are just some of the reasons people feel extreme anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist.
If you suffer from dental phobia- fear no more! At Alexandria Periodontics, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears. Not only will our staff treat you with delicacy and care, but IV sedation will allow you to experience dentistry in a whole new way. While engaging in a pleasant sleeplike experience, Dr. Lakkis will be hard at work making sure you “wake up” with the results you desire.
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