Conscious Sedation Dentistry

Comfort Inducing and Anxiety-Reducing Dental Solutions in Scottsdale, AZ

With years of experience in dentistry, we continue to see many patients who have minor dental anxiety up to fully dreading their dental visits and unfortunately delaying necessary care. At Smile Arizona Dentistry in Scottsdale, AZ, we have dental professionals who have completed specialized training in ‘Conscious Sedation’ techniques that allows us to treat these patients in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

Our sedation dentistry solutions are extremely carefully administered, so don’t let your dental anxiety lead to ignoring dental issues and preventive care! Visit our dental care facility today to learn about our comfortable and anxiety-relaxing options for you. Nothing is more important than your health! We are only minutes away from Tempe, Mesa, and Phoenix.

What Is Conscious Sedation in Dentistry?

Image of a unconscious patient under nitrous oxide sedation

What Is Conscious Sedation in Dentistry?

Conscious sedation in dentistry combines the use of one or more drugs (sedatives and/or anesthetics) to help relax patients and to increase comfort and relaxation during a dental procedure. With conscious sedation, a patient is able to respond to the dentist during the procedure

Different kinds of sedation used in dentistry are:

  • Minimal Sedation: You will feel relaxed without losing your consciousness.
  • Moderate Sedation: You may fall asleep, but still can respond to oral comments.
  • Deep Sedation: You may fall asleep, but still can respond to oral comments.

The level of sedation used varies depending on the type of dental procedure, your age, and health condition(s). The effects of sedation may vary from one person to another. Generally, you will feel drowsy, relaxed, and react slowly.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is often used in more invasive dental procedures. However, minimal to mild sedation can be requested by patients with dental anxiety for even regular or routine dental procedures.

Here are the most common reasons patients consider sedation dentistry in Scottsdale:

  • Dental phobia
  • General anxiety disorder
  • Fear or nervousness
  • Special needs
  • Sensitive oral nerves
  • Soreness of mouth during procedures

What Are the Common Dental Solutions That Require Sedation?

Image of a dentist examining a patient’s oral health

What Are the Common Dental Solutions That Require Sedation?

Dental procedures that may require conscious sedation include:

  • Dental fillings
  • Root Canal
  • Dental cleanings
  • Minor and advanced oral surgery including teeth extraction
  • Cosmetic dental treatments, including dental implants, and crowns and bridges

What is the Conscious Sedation Procedure Like?

The procedure for conscious sedation involves these steps:

1. You will receive the sedative drug(s) in any of the following ways:

  • Oral Sedation: Oral sedation can be minimal or moderate depending on the type of dental procedure. You are given a pill before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy and often fall asleep.
  • Nitrous Oxide: You will breathe nitrogen mixed with oxygen via a nose mask. After receiving the gas mixture for just a minute or so, you will be begin to relax and some say they experience a tingling sensation. The effects of this sedation dissipate soon as you stop inhaling the gas. You are 100% normal after two minutes breathing straight oxygen after using nitrous oxide and you can even drive yourself to and from a dental appointment incorporating this relaxation technique.
  • IV Sedation: You will receive the sedation intravenously and will begin to feel the effects in a few minutes. This sedation is used for complex procedures and for some procedures that were previously performed with general anesthesia. An especially popular procedure using this technique is 3rd Molar or wisdom teeth extraction.

2. Sedation will take effect.

IV sedation generally works the quickest, whereas oral sedatives can take longer to begin working and thus medication is often starting by taking a pill at bedtime the night before the dental procedure.

3. Your dentist will monitor your blood pressure and breathing.

Your blood pressure and breathing may slightly drop after the sedative begins to work. However, your dentist will closely watch you and if required, they may provide an oxygen mask to keep your blood pressure and breathing at normal levels.

4. The dental procedure begins.

Your dentist will start the procedure once the sedative drug is working. You could be under sedation for a few minutes to several hours depending on your dental procedure.

Conscious Sedation Dentistry FAQs

The time it takes for conscious sedation to wear off varies depending on the drug and dose you have received.

You can recover quickly from conscious sedation, but you can expect these things during your recovery:

  • Your dentist will ask you to stay in the procedure room for an hour or more to monitor your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • The effects of nitrous oxide will wear off quickly, but the effects of oral conscious sedation and intravenous conscious sedation may last for a day, so bring someone for your assistance and to take you home and stay with you until you are fully recovered at 24 to 48 hours.
  • Take a day off from work and avoid lifting anything heavy until the effects of the sedation wear off and you have healed for at least a few days.

Our experienced dentist, Dr. Beth Vander Schaaf, and her anesthesia team will gather all the medical history, any additional pertinent information, any known allergies, so that the side effects of the conscious sedation are limited. Short-term side effects are common, which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Headache
  • Heaviness or sluggishness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling sick

These side effects will not last long and disappear after a few hours.

You will feel what most describe as very minimal, a needle stick when you are given sedation intravenously. Otherwise, you won’t experience any pain during your procedure with dental sedation.

Most insurance plans consider sedation or sleep dentistry an elective procedure and do not cover it. In some cases, where it is a part of the procedure, it may be covered.

To our Valued Patients here at Smile Arizona Dentistry:

Due to the Governor's executive orders that go into effect on Saturday March 21st, 2020:

All hygiene care has been postponed until the week of April 6th. If you have a hygiene appointment we are working to reach you to help you with a new appointment slot. Feel free to call in to us, we will help you as soon as possible. We will return all calls; please understand our hours are shortened and we will return your calls at our first opportunity.

Many of you still need to be seen for care. If you have an appointment with Dr. Beth for non-elective treatment or if you are midcare, please continue to keep this appointment. If you are uncertain about the status of your care, please call us.

We will do our best to pass along updates affecting care, as new information is available.

If you have a new patient appointment, unless you have an urgent issue with discomfort, swelling or the like, we will move your appointment until the week of April 6th.

We will be open for your phone calls and to give recommendations for your care and ALL EMERGENCY CARE as close to business hours as possible throughout April 5th. We hope to be back to our regular schedule starting April 6th. Our emergency line 602-361-2561 is open 24/7. Please reserve this number for truly urgent situations.

Thank you for your continued support and trust.