Oral Sedation
Woman getting oral sedation fromAdvanced Family Dentistry in Muncie, INOral sedation is a topic that not many patients want to discuss when they visit the dentist. Whether you choose to have nitrous oxide for sedation or you want to take a pill before a dental procedure, most dentists believe that patients need to feel comfortable in the dental chair so that routine procedures such as: dental cleanings and dental exams, as well as emergency procedures, are not fear-inducing.

Why Would I Need Sedation?

We always want our dental office to be an open and welcoming place for our patients. It has to be that way because we want your teeth to be as healthy as possible. We love to see patients for routine checkups. If you have a fear of the dentist, your dental health and overall health may suffer.

The American Dental Association has found that over 35 percent of all adults have anxiety about visiting the dentist. These anxiety symptoms could be momentary, such as quicker breathing or a faster heartbeat. If you have a momentary feeling of nervousness as you walk in our door, that is normal and expected. However, you may have more than just a little twinge of nervousness. Moderate anxiety symptoms include shortness of breath and pounding heart, sweating, feeling dizzy or faint, dry mouth, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

For about 12 percent of all adults, the anxiety can become a true phobia, which makes them avoid the dentist altogether. If you have been avoiding the dental office, you are not helping yourself to have the best dental health possible. Poor oral care can lead to severe gum infections as well as tooth loss. Your overall health may suffer as well. Poor oral care causes infection and inflammation in your heart and brain and can worsen diabetes symptoms.

If you have a fear of going to the dentist, it is important that you talk to us about the types of sedation techniques we use in our Advanced Family Dentistry office. Here are two types of oral sedation that may benefit you.

What Types of Oral Sedation Are Available?


The lightest form of oral sedation is in the form of a pill. Usually, dentists prescribe a small amount of oral sedation before your procedure, such as benzodiazepine or alprazolam. You will take one dose of medication when you arrive at the office or shortly before and a second dose before the procedure, although this varies from patient to patient.

The oral medication will make you feel more relaxed and less anxious. However, it will not cause you to go to sleep, and you will still be able to drive home or operate most machinery. Many patients prefer oral medication because it allows them to return to work or school but significantly lessens their anxiety.

Oral medication is not for all procedures or all patients. It works well for patients with mild or moderate anxiety who need to come into the dentist for a teeth cleaning, dental filling, or dental crown. However, oral pills are not for everyone, so if you have issues with substance use, you have a chronic health condition, or you have severe anxiety, you may need another option.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide has been used in dental practice since before the Civil War. In fact, doctors discovered nitrous oxide had relaxation properties in the 1850s, and the gas was often used by psychiatrists and medical professionals. It was not long before dentists began to use nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas or happy gas) is used by dentists to help reduce patient anxiety and pain during dental procedures. It is inhaled through a mask or nosepiece, and the calming effects start within three to five minutes. Patients usually do not think that nitrous oxide has a taste or smell, although some patients say it smells slightly sweet or metallic. The dentist determines the amount of sedation the patient receives and adjusts the dosage throughout the procedure.

Dentists usually use nitrous oxide for patients who need a dental cleaning, tooth filling, crown, or sealants. Both children and adult patients with mild or moderate anxiety symptoms can benefit from nitrous oxide. The gas can be used in patients as young as three as well as in older patients. However, not everyone can use nitrous oxide during a dental appointment. There are some adults who feel nauseated when breathing in nitrous oxide. Also, if you have a lung disease, such as COPD, chronic bronchitis, or asthma, you may not be able to breathe the gas in.

Just like oral medication for relaxation, patients who have had nitrous oxide will be able to drive themselves home and return to work or school. Our dentist simply turns the gas off and gives you a few minutes, usually less than five minutes, to return to normal.

Do I Have Other Options for Sedation?

If you need a more serious dental procedure or you have severe anxiety, you may need to talk to our office about other sedation options. For example, some patients require IV sedation, which means you will get medication through your vein. If you have IV sedation, you will not be able to drive home, operate machinery, or return to work and school right away. You will need to rest for a few hours after IV sedation.

Some patients may require the heaviest form of sedation, which is called general anesthesia. For general anesthesia, you need an anesthesiologist who will put you to sleep for the procedure. Usually, this type of anesthesia is reserved for serious oral surgeries, such as wisdom teeth removal.

What if you are not sure what type of oral sedation you need to feel less anxious? You may want to give our office a call to make an appointment for a dental consultation. That way, you can sit down with our dentist and discuss your anxiety. Our dentist will then be able to take a look at your teeth and give you an idea about the type of sedation you need.

Reach out to Advanced Family Dentistry at (765) 287-5338 today so we can get started on making your teeth healthier, and you can get started on feeling less anxious at the dentist.

Get in Touch

3511 W Fox Ridge Ln.
Muncie, IN 47304-5206

Office Hours:

Mon: 8am - 5pm
Tue: 8am - 5pm
Wed: 8am - 5pm
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Fri: 7am - 2pm

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Oral Sedation | Advanced Family Dentistry | Muncie, IN
Advanced Family Dentistry always strive to meet your individual comfort needs. For more information about oral sedation at Advanced Family Dentistry, please call us today!
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