Sedation in Albuquerque

What Is Dental Sedation?

Dental sedation is the practice of using sedative drugs to help keep patients calm and comfortable during dental surgeries and procedures. Sedation has a long history in dentistry.

It’s a great option for any patient who may be nervous or intimidated about an upcoming dental procedure at Coronado Family Dental. With sedation from Dr. Becky Chiem, you can rest and relax while you get the dental care you need in Albuquerque. Contact us now to schedule an appointment. Don't hesitate to stop by our office located at 11130 Lomas Blvd NE Suite F2, Albuquerque, NM 87112.

sedation dentistry Albuquerque

Did you know…

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Sedation dentistry can be provided as part of any treatment at Coronado Family Dental, even routine teeth cleanings. This makes our office a great choice if you have dental anxiety.

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What To Expect From Dental Sedation

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Before you can be sedated, Dr. Chiem will need to discuss your health history, medications you’re taking, and other such details to ensure you can be sedated safely at Coronado Family Dental.

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Administering sedation

For oral sedation, you will usually take a pill the night before your appointment, or a few hours before your appointment. Nitrous oxide is administered with a simple nose mask.

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Get your treatment

Once you’ve received sedation, you’ll feel more calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Then, your dentist in Albuquerque can begin your dental treatment, and provide you with the care you need.

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Aftercare & recovery

Nitrous oxide sedation wears off after about 5 minutes, after which you can drive and return to your normal routine. However, oral sedation takes at least 4-6 hours to wear off. You will need someone to drive you home and care for you after your treatment if you opt for oral sedation.

Your Dental Sedation Options

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Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)

Nitrous oxide, also commonly called “laughing gas,” is a gas that’s commonly used for sedation dentistry. In a clinical setting, it’s typically administered using a nose mask. You simply breathe through the mask, and a stream of nitrous oxide and oxygen flows into your lungs, where it’s quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.

Nitrous oxide takes effect nearly immediately. It will make you feel a bit “floaty” and euphoric, which is why it’s called “laughing gas.” You also will feel less anxious, and your pain threshold will be higher.

However, you will remain fully conscious. And within about 5 minutes after your treatment ends, the sedative will wear off. You may feel some slight side effects, but you can safely drive yourself home, or even go back to work or school.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation uses powerful anti-anxiety medicine. It may be taken the night before your procedure or an hour or two before, depending on the drug. This method of sedation will make you groggy and sleepy.

After being sedated with oral conscious sedation, it’s common for patients to fall asleep and forget most of what happens during their appointment. This makes it popular for more invasive oral surgeries, like tooth extractions.

However, the after-effects of this sedation method last a lot longer, up to 4-6 hours and even up to 24 hours in some cases. You will not be able to drive yourself home, and will need to have someone drive you to and from Coronado Family Dental.

Have Questions About Dental Sedation? Find Answers Here.

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Who Is a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Dental sedation is so advantageous because of its multiple uses. If you suffer from dental anxiety, restlessness, low pain tolerance, tooth sensitivity, sensitive gag reflex, trauma related to needles or dentistry, or if you are getting long or complex procedures, you are a great candidate for dental sedation. 

Sedation relaxes you, suppresses pain sensation, reduces the gag reflex, helps patients sit still for long periods, and has an amnesiac effect that causes patients to forget the entire experience. This is advantageous for patients with any of these conditions or circumstances. 

However, not everyone is a good candidate for dental sedation. This is why we need to review your medical history during your consultation. We can evaluate your age, medications, and any conditions that you have that would impact your eligibility for receiving sedation.

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Will I Be Able to Drive After Sedation?

This depends on the specific type of sedation being used. At Coronado Family Dental, we offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation, neither of which are especially intense sedatives that will put you under. 

While you will be able to drive after receiving nitrous oxide, you won’t after oral conscious sedation. Laughing gas is a very mild sedative that completely wears off after a few minutes of flowing steady oxygen into your gas mask. 

This removes all remnants of nitrous oxide and the sedative doesn’t cause lingering hangover effects like other sedatives do. This means most people can drive themselves to and from their appointments and return to activities like normal.

Because oral conscious sedation is a deeper form of sedation that needs to be taken an hour before your appointment, you will not be able to drive. You need to arrange for someone to drive you to your appointment as well as drive you home. 

The sedative’s side effects of drowsiness, lethargy, and lightheadedness can last for up to 24 hours so you should rest for the rest of the day and avoid strenuous activity and driving for the next 24 hours.

How Long Will I Be Sedated?

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With nitrous oxide, you will feel the onset of the effects within 1-2 minutes of administering the gas. This will last for the duration of your procedure and then we will flush the mask with pure oxygen. Within a couple of minutes, the sedative will have completely left your body.

Oral conscious sedation lasts much longer – typically about 2-8 hours. However, there will still be some lingering effects for up to 24 hours which is why you will still be limited in your activities until the next day. We may need to monitor you after your appointment for about an hour or so before we can let you go home.

Is Sedation Dentistry Painful?

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No, the administration of dental sedation is non-invasive. At Coronado Family Dental, we offer laughing gas which involves inhaling a gas alongside oxygen through a nasal mask or oral conscious sedation which is the consumption of an anti-anxiety pill. 

The administration is simple and painless. Once the effects of the sedative start to kick in, you will enjoy a range of benefits, including pain relief during your treatment. Sedation, when used in tandem with local anesthesia, greatly increases patient comfort and well-being. 

You won’t even have to remember your appointment. Sedation has an amnesiac effect on patients, causing them to lose their memory of what happened while they were sedated. This can be comforting and relieve future dental anxiety.

Can I Request to Be Sedated?

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Yes, you can always request to be sedated for any dental appointment! Many patients think that a dentist must recommend sedation to obtain it or they think that sedation is reserved purely for complex or invasive procedures like oral surgery.

On the contrary, we encourage patients to take initiative in communicating with their dentist when they would like to be sedated. If you have dental anxiety or special needs, please let us know so we can accommodate you to the best of our ability. 

Sedation can be used for minor, routine appointments just as it can be used in more invasive ones. The purpose of sedation is to relieve dental anxiety and stress and increase patient comfort. 

Sedation is suitable for patients of all ages and walks of life, but we will need to review your medical history first to ensure sedation is safe for you. If you would like to be sedated for a dental appointment, let us know ahead of time so we can determine if you’re a good candidate. Contact us at Coronado Family Dental today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chiem.

How Long Does It Take for Sedation to Wear Off?

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Nitrous oxide wears off nearly instantly. As soon as we remove the nasal mask, it will only take a few minutes for the gas to completely leave the body. 

No lingering hangover effects occur with this sedative so you will be cleared to return to your usual activities directly after your appointment. If you are of driving age, you can drive yourself home. This is the only sedative that doesn’t restrict your ability to drive. 

Oral conscious sedation, however, lasts for much longer. Most patients feel symptoms for 2 to 8 hours after their appointment and feelings of drowsiness can linger for up to 24 hours. You will need to arrange for someone to give you rides to and from your appointment and to monitor you for the rest of the day. 

Since you will be very tired, you may need help making it up flights of stairs and you should get some rest when you get home. Don’t operate heavy machinery, drink alcohol, or sign legal documents within the next 24 hours.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

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You’re In Good Overall Health - We need to review your medical history to determine if sedation is appropriate for you because not everyone is a good candidate for sedation. Factors that can rule you out for sedation include having a medical condition, taking certain medications, having an allergy to the medication in the sedative, or being pregnant.

You Have Dental Anxiety - Sedation melts away anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions by relaxing you and putting you into a calmer state. With laughing gas, you may feel euphoric, giddy, and tingly, while oral conscious sedation may make you feel very sleepy and like you’re in a haze. They also prevent you from remembering what happened once the sedative wears off which helps reduce anxiety in patients with past dental-related trauma.

You Have a Sensitive Gag Reflex - Did you know that sedation can suppress a sensitive gag reflex? Having a sensitive gag reflex can make it difficult to sit for dental procedures where the dentist needs to work in the back of your mouth, because of the bodily response to gag which can be uncomfortable or embarrassing. Sedation can suppress this response by relaxing the muscles in the back of the mouth and throat.

You Have Special Needs - Some patients have a physical or cognitive disability and need extra accommodation. These patients will benefit from sedation which can help them feel less stressed, more comfortable, reduce restlessness, and improve cooperation.

You Have Low Pain Tolerance or Are Undergoing Invasive Surgery - Whether the procedure you are undergoing is complex and carries a higher risk of discomfort or you naturally have low pain tolerance, sedation can completely eliminate pain sensation so you are more comfortable during your procedure. This can also reduce sensitivity in the gums and teeth. Contact us at Coronado Family Dental today to find out if you’re a good candidate for sedation.

Why Can’t I Drink Water Before Being Sedated?

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You can drink water before being sedated, but you will need to fast for a certain amount of time before your appointment depending on the type of sedation you are receiving. With nitrous oxide, you should not eat for 2 hours leading up to your appointment and you should not eat for 6 hours before receiving oral conscious sedation. 

You should also avoid flavored beverages during this time but it’s okay to drink clear liquids up to 2 hours before your appointment. After this point, it’s okay to take a few sips but avoid chugging water right before your sedation appointment. This is to prevent the risk of nausea and vomiting when receiving sedation.

How Do I Prepare for Sedation?

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To prepare for your sedation appointment, wear loose and comfortable clothing. Know what you’re allowed to eat and drink before the appointment. For laughing gas, you don’t have any strict fasting rules except for avoiding a heavy meal 2 hours before your appointment. Remember to fast for 6 hours when receiving oral conscious sedation. 

Sort out your rides and have someone to monitor you when you get home if you are receiving more intense sedation. While laughing gas doesn’t cause lingering side effects and you can return to regular activities right away, including driving, this isn’t the case with oral conscious sedation. You will need to take the sedative at home an hour before your appointment and have someone drive you to the office. 

After the appointment, you will need a ride home and will need to rest. Since this sedative can affect you for up to 24 hours, someone needs to be around to watch you and help you get around.