Sedation and Relaxation Options
We know that many patients are nervous about dental treatments, including root canal therapy. However, this does not have to be a scary experience! In fact, with advanced technology and modern anesthesia, the root canal experience should be no different than having a filling placed. That being said, our staff is trained to help make you feel completely comfortable and relaxed.
If you are particularly anxious, we do offer some sedation options beyond the typical local anesthesia. For most patients, these are not necessary, but always remain an option. These include:
Nitrous Oxide is a sweet-smelling, colorless gas which you can breathe before and during treatment. Nitrous Oxide anesthesia has been used for sedation in dentistry for many years. It is safe, as you will always be able to breath on your own and maintain complete control of all body functions, with no side effects to your heart or lungs.
Some patients experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep, not remembering all or part of their appointment. If you continue to feel anxious, the level of sedation can always be increased during the appointment as needed. Nitrous oxide works very rapidly and can also be removed just as quickly, with no after effects. It can also be effective if you have a bad gag reflex.
If you would like to use Nitrous Oxide, we ask that you do not eat for 3-4 hours before your appointment.
Prescription Anti-Anxiety Medications
There are a number of prescription anti-anxiety medications available to you if anxiety is moderate to severe. These include Valium, Halcion, and numerous others, which may be prescribed by our office or by your physician. If such a medication is prescribed, please carefully follow instructions, typically taking one pill before bed the night before and one pill an hour before your appointment. With these medications, it is often necessary that you have someone drive you to and from your appointment.
If you or your child is truly unable to tolerate any of the above sedation methods, we do offer treatment under I.V. sedation, as managed by a licensed anesthesiologist. Depending on your personal needs, he may recommend general anesthesia or conscious sedation, both of which are safe, precise, and highly effective techniques for management of the more severe levels of dental fear. We will carefully monitor your vital signs throughout treatment. A major benefit of some of these I.V. drugs is amnesia, as many patients have no memory of most, or even all, of the dental treatment. Due to the need to have specialized equipment and personnel present, this treatment will require a second follow-up visit for treatment. If you elect to undergo I.V. sedation, it will be necessary to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.