Oral Surgery Sedation

At Winchester Oral Surgery Center our patients are offered various sedation options depending on their procedure and level of comfort. Read on to find out which sedation option is best for you, if any factors, such as age, anxiety, or disabilities may affect your choice, and how IV sedation is administered.

Types of Sedation

Sedation Options Offered:

Local Anesthesia

Local anesthetics are those that affect only a small portion of the body. They work locally to numb the area and ensure the patient doesn’t feel any pain. Lidocaine is a common numbing medication that is injected directly into the affected area and takes effect quickly. Patients are conscious and aware during local anesthesia, but should not feel any discomfort. It is typically used in simple tooth extractions or placement of dental implant(s). The patient is able to drive home after the procedure.

Minimal Sedation

This method of anesthesia combines the localization of an anesthetic with the calming effects of nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”). A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is breathed through a mask or nosepiece, allowing a patient to be aware during the procedure while remaining relaxed. This method also may include a sedative agent. Patients with anxiety about dental care might prefer moderate or general sedation as you can still hear drills and removal of teeth. This type of anesthesia is for simple procedures and you can drive yourself home.

Moderate Sedation:

Sometimes referred to as “twilight sedation,” intravenous (IV) moderate sedation places a patient in a state between awake and asleep, drifting in and out of consciousness. Although patients are partially conscious, few remember anything from the procedure other than feeling sleepy and relaxed. Moderate sedation often can be used instead of minimal sedation for procedures such as removal of impacted wisdom teeth. Moderate sedation may use the same types of medication as general anesthesia and generally leads to a quick recovery from sedation and minimization of anesthesia side effects. We require you to have someone drive you home after this type of sedation.

General Anesthesia:

The combination of medications used to put patients to “sleep” before surgery or another medical procedure is called general anesthesia. Under this type of anesthesia, patients are completely unconscious, though it will likely feel as if they are simply going to sleep. The key difference is the patient doesn’t respond to reflexes or pain signals. Patients with anxiety about dental care might prefer this type of anesthesia.

Which Option Is Best For You?

These options help you to feel comfortable and calm when undergoing oral surgery procedures. During the consultation appointment you will discuss with the doctors which option is right for you, as well as any cost differences between the choices. Light sedation is also referred to as “twilight sleep” and you may not always be completely asleep but very comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep. Deep sedation ensures you will have no awareness or recollection of the procedures performed, a truly tranquil state.

If you choose any of the options described above, the anesthesia is administered and monitored by Dr. Coviello or Dr. Starley therefore eliminating the costly expense of having your treatment carried out in an operating room or same-day surgical facility.

Sedation dentistry is also a great option for the elderly, the disabled, or simply the fearful!

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Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Sedation Option

Sedation Dentistry for the Elderly

As we age, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, which affects nearly every part of our daily lives. To lead full and active lives, we need our teeth and gums. They allow us to enjoy food, support speech and good conversation, and facilitate digestion. Drs. Coviello or Starley are dedicated to treating elderly patients with care and commitment to comfort and health.

Elderly patients as a group tend to avoid dental visits for a variety of reasons, including more pressing medical concerns, anxiety about treatment, the hardship of transportation, or fixed incomes. Once their oral health has reached an unmanageable point, fear and embarrassment further keep these patients away from the dentist.

For elderly patients embarrassed or fearful of their current oral state, sedation dentistry provides the opportunity for Drs. Coviello and Starley to treat these conditions while the patient remains relaxed and unaware until “awaking” to an improved oral state!

Sedation Dentistry for the Fearful

Dental phobia is a real, often overwhelming reality for thousands of people. Negative previous dental experiences, fear of needles or drills, and severe gag refluxes are just some of the reasons people feel extreme anxiety when thinking about visiting the dentist.

If you suffer from dental phobia- fear no more! At Winchester Oral Surgery Center, we are committed to understanding the very real nature of your fears. Not only will our staff treat you with delicacy and care, but IV sedation will allow you to experience dentistry in a whole new way. While engaging in a pleasant sleep-like experience, Drs. Coviello and Starley will be hard at work making sure you “wake up” with the results you desire.

Sedation Dentistry for the Disabled

It may be especially difficult for people with disabilities to obtain access to proper dental care. They must find a dentist who is skilled and compassionate, and who can provide services for which some dentists may not be qualified. At Winchester Oral Surgery Center, we provide the expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and dedication to assisting special-needs patients necessary to ensure great oral care for our patients.

Disabled patients may face added challenges in maintaining their oral health. Their disability may make it difficult to brush or floss regularly; they may also suffer severe gag reflux, or dry mouth as a result of medication. Dr. Coviello and Dr. Starley meet these challenges with sedation dentistry for the disabled. Our doctors are skilled in anesthesia for special-needs patients and can ease the fear associated with out-of-control oral hygiene with one visit.

How is the IV Sedation Administered?

A thin needle will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. At times a patient’s vein may not be able to sustain a needle for the length of the procedure. In this case, the medications will be administered and the needle retrieved. Both scenarios will achieve the same desired level of conscious sedation. Once again some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and may not sleep at all. The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. With IV sedation, a constant “drip” is maintained via the intravenous tube. At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary. IV sedation is very safe!

Along with IV sedation there are also different “levels” of sedation available to you in our office. There is nitrous oxide analgesia and oral sedation or nitrous oxide in combination with oral sedation basically we can tailor the anesthesia to your need or desire. Once again, all modalities are administered and monitored by Dr. Coviello or Dr. Starley in the safety and comfort of our office environment.


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