A Brief History Of Sedation Dentistry

For many of our patients, sedation has become a standard part of their dental care. You may be surprised to learn that sedation dentistry actually goes back more than 170 years.

And the origins of dental sedation got back to the 1770s.

Before we get to how sedation dentistry got started, we want you to know that we offer two sedation options at Advanced Smile Arts. If you are someone who experiences, dental anxiety, sedation can make it much easier for you to receive the care that you need to keep your mouth as healthy as it can be.

Nitrous Oxide

In 1772, nitrous oxide was discovered by Joseph Priestly. According to some accounts, Priestley thought this gas may be usable as a preservative, but people soon learned that it had other properties.

For years, the gas was used for entertainment. Around 1800, Humphry Davy started using himself as a guinea pig to experiment with “laughing gas.” This included giving himself a dose of gas and then treating a gum infection and toothache, according to dentalfearcentral.org (a website for people with dental anxiety).

The use of nitrous oxide as an analgesic was set back when a public demonstration went poorly. (It is believed that the gas was not administered correctly.)

In spite of the setback, nitrous oxide eventually came into common use as an analgesic in dental and medical care.

Today, we have a much better understand of how to utilize this gas to the benefit of our patients.

When someone receives nitrous oxide today, they inhale the gas through a mask. Within a few minutes, they may start to feel light-headed, but they also will experience a euphoric feeling that helps them relax.

As long as they continue breathing the gas, they will remain calm and won’t feel any pain during their dental care. They may remember bits and pieces of their treatment, but they will have no memory of most procedures.

At the end of the treatment, we simply turn off the gas. The patient breaths out the last bit left in their bodies, and within a few minutes, they are back to feeling normal.

It’s fast. It’s effective, and it’s safe.

Oral Conscious Sedation

A newer form of sedation dentistry is oral conscious sedation.

This form of sedation is as easy as taking a pill. This medication is taken prior to your dental appointment.

It takes longer to take effect compared to nitrous oxide, but it is a stronger and longer lasting form of dental sedation.

Most patients feel drowsy or groggy, although some do fall asleep. Very few have any memories of their treatment.

This is called oral conscious sedation because you are still able to respond to requests from the dentist or dental hygienist. (This is generally to ask you to turn your head a certain direction or to open or close your mouth slightly to make it easier to complete your cleaning or other procedure.)

Since oral conscious sedation’s effects last for hours at a time, you will need to make arrangement for a family member or friend to drive you home after your appointment. You will probably want to rest for a little while when you get home, too.

The Benefits Of Sedation

The kind of dental sedation you receive may depend on how severe your dental anxiety is. It also may depend on the type of procedure you are receiving.

With this in mind, we want to explain some benefits of sedation dentistry.

  • Pain-free care — One of the reasons people feel anxious about coming to the dentist is they are worried that it will hurt. They last thing we want is to cause our patients pain. Dental sedation can eliminate that concern.
  • No gagging — Some patients have more sensitive gag reflexes than others, which can make dental care tricky at time. With sedation, you will remain relaxed, which makes it much less likely that you will gag during your procedure.
  • Stay calm — We know we have said that you will remain relaxed already, but staying calm is good for you. When you are feeling anxious, your body releases stress hormones that can affect your blood pressure. If you feel calm, you won’t feel experience the “fight or flight” sensation that can come with anxiety.

And you can believe us when we say we don’t want our patient to feel like they should fight or flee.

Could Sedation Work For You?

If you have avoided the dentist because of dental anxiety, please call us to find out how sedation dentistry could help you. Our dentist office is located in Danville, IL. Our staff wants to help you have and maintain a healthy mouth.

Call 217-703-4536 or use our online form to contact Advanced Smile Arts with any questions about dental sedation or our other services.

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