If you are nervous about going to the dentist or you have a lot of work that needs to be done, you may want to consider seeing a dentist that can provide sedation dentistry. There are several kinds of sedation that your dentist may choose from.
Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide has been used in sedation dentistry for many years. Your dentist will put a little mask over your nose and have you breathe in the gas through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
There are a lot of benefits to using nitrous oxide for sedation. One is that your doctor can easily change how much you are getting at any point. Another is that it is pretty minimal sedation. You will still be conscious and relatively "with it," but the edge will be taken off and you will feel better. Nitrous oxide also wears off very quickly with few side effects, usually, so your dentist may allow you to drive home.
IV/Oral Moderate Sedation
The next level of sedation is a moderate sedation. At this level, you are conscious and communicative, but not truly aware. You should be able to answer questions if asked, but you may not remember questions that were asked earlier in the session. You may even fall asleep during the procedure.
Moderate sedation can be done in one of two ways. One is that your dentist may give you a pill that you can take when you get to their office. The other is that you may get an IV that has the medication in it. After your procedure, your dentist may require that you stay in the office until you are more awake, just so that they can monitor your response. You will not be able to drive yourself home if you have had moderate sedation because you will not be safe behind the wheel.
Deep sedation and anesthesia is the final place to go when using sedation dentistry. At this level, you are completely asleep and completely unaware as to what is going on. If you have to have a lot of work done, say multiple root canals, or have a serious dental phobia, this may be a good choice for you. Deep sedation is most often given by IV, but your doctor may choose to use oral medication as well or instead.
If you worry about dental work and seeing your dentist, sedation dentistry may be the right choice for you.