“I wanna be sedated”

March 14, 2016

You may be familiar with the Ramones’ irreverent treatment of this subject in the punk anthem cited in our title. Let us state however, without reservation, that access to various forms sedation is a safe and effective godsend for millions of people every day.

Truth is, the use of sedation in medicine, whether in dentistry or otherwise, greatly reduces the difficulties patients face in moving forward with necessary treatment. Dentistry, by its very nature, is an invasive profession. For many people, there can be great discomfort in being fully aware while a dental professional completes intricate procedures in a sensitive part of your person.

Pain anxiety is just one of many valid reasons why the use of sedation is so valuable in dentistry. Whether it’s the size of one’s mouth or jaw opening, the size and positioning of the teeth, thickness and length of tongue and the sensitivity of one’s gag reflex – there is no shortage of very real difficulties people face when accessing regular dental care and maintenance, let alone basic restorative procedures such as fillings.

As such, there are plenty of good reasons why the use of sedation has become so popular in dentistry.

Types of Sedation

In Ontario, the delivery of sedation dentistry is strictly regulated by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons (RCDSO). Santé & Highbury Dental are approved for three of the most common applications of sedation used in dentistry. With the appropriate patient information, we can recommend which type is most suitable for your circumstances. Local anaesthetics, where specific areas of the mouth are numbed prior to the procedure are typically used, regardless of whether a patient chooses to add sedation to their treatment.

Nitrous Oxide is applied by simply fitting a small mask over the nasal passage. The patient becomes completely relaxed, and is often overcome with a feeling of euphoria, while remaining fully awake. During the procedure, the patient is responsive to touch and sound, and is able to respond accurately to questions and take direction. The feeling wears off soon after the mask is removed and no special post-treatment steps are required.

Oral Sedation results in a state of semi-consciousness and can range from minimum to moderate sedation. This is the type most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. An oral anaesthetic is taken about an hour before the procedure which makes the patient drowsy, while still awake. Depending on the dose, some people become groggy enough to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake. The patient is required to arrange a companion for the trip home, and there may be restrictions on activities for the remainder of the day.

IV Sedation is similar to the moderate version of oral sedation. It is administered through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. A further benefit is that it can be adjusted continually during the procedure. A specialist and accompanying nurse are required for IV sedation. This option is now available for our patients.

For Santé/Highbury Dental patients, the only sedation requiring a referral to a specialist practice is the rarely needed General Anaesthetic.

A consultation is required prior to scheduling of oral or IV sedation. You are welcome to contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators or our Treatment Coordinator for more information. Call 519-455-5620 or