Sedation Dentistry is defined as a minimally depressed level of consciousness that retains the patient's ability to independently and continuously maintain an airway and respond appropriately to physical stimulation and verbal command and that is produced by pharmacological or nonpharmacologic method or combination thereof.
Sedation Dentistry, sometimes called Relaxation Dentistry, refers to the way dentist's manage Pain and Anxiety during dental appointments.
Unlike General Anesthesia where a patient is completely unconscious, asleep, and unable to respond, patients under Conscious Sedation, are able to respond to commands and breath on their own.
There are 2 primary ways that Sedation is administered in the Dental Office:
1. Enteral Conscious Sedation "Orally Administered Sedation", sometimes called "Sedation Dentistry" is administered by taking a pill. All body functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient will often fall asleep. Some degree of amnesia is common. The disadvantage with this method of sedation, is that the level of sedation for each person is not predictable.
2. Inhalation Conscious Sedation, Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen Sedation also known as "laughing gas". This is the most frequently used sedation method used in dentistry. All bodily functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient will often fall asleep and experience some degree of amnesia about what happened during their dental appointment. Inhalation Sedation has been used my dentists for many years.