• Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St. 93901
  • Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive 95023
  • (831) 424-2214 | Salinas, CA - 1112 Pajaro St.
  • (831) 424-2214 | Hollister, California - 1710 Memorial Drive

Sedation Dentistry

A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety.  Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.

Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep.  In fact, most sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure.  Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation and IV sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.

Sedation dentistry is popular because most sedatives can be taken by mouth, meaning no injections, no anxiety and no pain.  Some sedatives work so effectively that even the smells and details of the procedure cannot be recalled afterwards.  Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.

Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver.  Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not advisable.

Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:

  • Anxiety is alleviated.
  • Few side effects.
  • More can be accomplished during each visit.
  • No needles.
  • No pain.
  • Perfectly safe.
  • Procedures seem to take less time.

What kinds of sedatives are available?

The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation.  Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs.  Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative.  It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure.  Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being.  Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure.  In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.

IV Sedation

Intravenous sedation is a moderate type of sedation.  Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure.  Generally, IV sedation is used for shorter treatments.  It is administered via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate.  Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn.  This is why it is important to bring a designated driver for the drive home.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles.  Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation.  Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses.  This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure.  Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.

What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?

Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines.  Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures.  Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time.  The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.

Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:

Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.

Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties.  A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.

Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety.  It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life.  Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.

Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used.  It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.

If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.

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Testimonials

Dr. Wetzel is an absolutely incredible gem of a dental surgeon. In every manner of incredible he and his lovely assistant deserves major props.

I am or was a big chicken of the procedure, but based on a small Asian jaw, awful bite and one horizontally impacted wisdom tooth that was causing bone loss, and another slanted and also impacted I had to do something. Due to difficulty taking time off work I got 7 teeth taken out for braces, bite and health. I was terrified to be honest but the office is beautiful, a great place to drool all over yourself ( more on that later) and the pain is minimal considering 2 impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to manage.

I only remember talking to him and joking with him when all of a sudden my memory lapsed and I woke up feeling no pain and they were almost done. I was in disbelief but I remembered hearing about that. There is super slight soreness now 12 hours post op but it actually is better than the soreness from braces! Isn't that crazy? Lastly as someone who only had dentists aged 55 and older I can tell you don't worry. His youthful appearance belies his ability and incredible expertise. :)

Oh and a Warning! You will drool everywhere and I wish I bought a towel for that. Lol. In any case definitely come see him. The drive is worth his ability and he and his assistant is honest, intelligent, kind and super duper skilled!
Tracy is also super kind and the entire staff is great!

I will trust him not only for my first surgery but every one thereafter!

Miss W.

Great periodontist. Very professional and competent. Prices are reasonable compared to similar services elsewhere. Reception staff and nurses are very kind and takes time to explain everything and address all concerns. I highly recommend this office.

Sara G.

Dr. Wetzel is a real professional as well as a likeable person. You don't always get that in an oral surgeon. LOL. His staff is super friendly and you really feel that the whole office cares about your well being. Also, Dr. Wetzel instills me with confidence. I trust him with any procedure. So far I have had a bone graft, an extraction, and a large gum graft. I am looking toward to two dental implants and another gum graft and bone graft. You can tell he is really focused on the task at hand when he is doing a procedure and he takes surgery to the level of an art. Clearly, he has the experience and skills to improvise when he runs into snafus. I had a question about my pain after my last surgery and called his after-hours emergency number, and he called me back within 2 minutes. You can't ask for more than that. Also, if you have Delta Dental, then Tracy will lay out your whole plan for all of your work and tell you how much is covered by Delta and how much you will have left to pay. No surprises. Plus, Dr. Wetzel's new office is super cool. The design is tres chic;) I wish he did regular dentistry too.

Dr. Felicia D.

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Office Location

  • Salinas
  • 1112 Pajaro St.
  • Salinas, CA
  • 93901
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  • Call: (831) 424-2214