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Sedation Dentistry in Vancouver, WA

Many patients are nervous about going to the dentist. Some experience so much anxiety that they skip their appointments altogether, avoiding dental visits for weeks, months, or even years. As you can imagine, this can be dangerous for your long-term oral health. At Creative Smiles in Vancouver, WA, Dr. Carl Futenma offers treatments in sedation dentistry for patients who want to be more comfortable during their procedures.

When is Sedation Necessary?

There are many factors that contribute to dental anxiety. Some patients have had traumatizing dental experiences in the past. Others may have a fear of needles, extremely sensitive teeth, or have difficulty getting numb before procedures. All of these are reasons why sedation dentistry can be helpful.

Patients who are undergoing several procedures during a single visit may become uncomfortable after a while, or their jaw may be tired from holding their mouth open. Sedation is an excellent choice in this scenario, as well.

It can be difficult for both the patient and the doctor if an individual has difficulty controlling movement. For example, certain health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy, can affect a patient’s ability to be still during treatment. These patients will benefit significantly from sedation dentistry, as it will make them more still and comfortable so they can receive safe care.

Nitrous Oxide

Also referred to as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is a sedative administered via inhalation through a nosepiece. This type of sedation induces relaxation and a sense of comfort. Most patients report a tingling sensation in the extremities, and a feeling as though they are sinking down into the chair. Because each patient requires different dosages, the level of nitrous oxide can be adjusted throughout the procedure as needed. Although patients will still be aware of their surroundings, they will be much more carefree and comfortable during their treatment.

Following the procedure, an oxygen flush will be administered to clear the body of the gas. Therefore, patients undergoing nitrous oxide will be able to drive themselves to and from their appointment.

Oral Sedation

Patients who prefer a stronger sedative can be prescribed anti-anxiety medication prior to their dental appointment. Generally, the pill will be taken 60 to 90 minutes before their procedure, although some patients may benefit from a dose the night before, as well. Dr. Futenma will base the type of medication and dosage on your weight, medical history, and other factors.

Most patients who receive oral sedation will sleep through their treatment. However, they will still be able to answer questions or respond to direction given by a staff member.

Oral sedation oftentimes has an amnesiac effect. Therefore, many patients will not even remember most of the procedure. Because this type of sedation affects motor skills and memory, patients must bring a friend or family member who can drive them to and from our office.

Nitrous Oxide and Oral Sedation

The strongest type of sedation we offer is a combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedation. This can provide an extra layer of comfort, as it induces euphoria in patients who are nervous or anxious. Patients who choose this sedation option must have a designated driver accompany them to and from our office on the day of their procedure.

Learn More about Sedation Dentistry

If you are interested in learning more about sedation dentistry, reach out to a team member. During a consultation, Dr. Futenma can help you decide which option will most effectively meet your unique needs. Contact us online anytime, or call our office at (360) 574-3061.