Sedation Options

Dr. Smith realizes that there are many different procedures that require many different levels of sedation.  Many patients will use one type of sedation for one procedure and a different type of sedation for another.  This is why it is so important to explain everything in the initial visit.  That way we make sure that the patient is properly relaxed and prepared for everything we are doing.  Here are the different ways that each type of sedation in administered.

Sedation options

Laughing Gas

This is a mild form of sedation that makes the patient feel as though they had a couple glasses of wine during the procedure.  Every operatory is equipped with a simple hookup for nitrous oxide, even the hygiene rooms.  The patient merely breathes the gas to get the desired effect.  The level of the gas is easily adjusted to make the patient as comfortable as possible.  After the procedure, there is no lingering after effect.  The patient is able to legally drive home making this a very convenient and popular form of sedation.


Single Pill With Laughing Gas

This is a simple way to relax the patient while keeping in a moderately sedated state.  The patient takes one pill about an hour before the appointment.  This will usually mildly relax the patient.  The patient is then given nitrous oxide to get them into an even more relaxed state.  This is a very popular option for cleaning visits for those patients that do not like to get their teeth cleaned.  The patient does need a driver to take them home after the procedure.


Multiple Pills With Laughing Gas

This is our most popular option. The patient takes one pill about an hour before the appointment. Dr. Smith then evaluates them when they arrive at the office. He will often give another pill (and sometimes a little more) depending on hour anxious the patient is after the first pill. Once the patient is in a relaxed state, Dr. Smith will give them oxygen and nitrous oxide to make them absolutely comfortable. These patients usually have a hazy yet positive memory of their experience with no bad thoughts or memories for the future.


Intravenous Sedation–IV

The patient will usually take one pill and hour before the procedure to get them into a relaxed state. Some also take a small pill the night before so they can get a good night’s sleep. They come back to the dental chair and are greeted by warm blankets. Heather, our nurse anesthetist, is excellent at starting the IV. Many patients don’t even feel it go in. She has over 30 years of experience sedating patients and is in charge of administering the anesthesia during the case. When the procedure is over, the patient gradually wakes up having little or no memory of what has been done. They usually sleep the rest of the day extremely happy knowing that after all these years of worry, they finally have an answer to their dental fears.

Intravenous Sedation with Nurse Anesthetist

As discussed on the Special Needs page, there are some patients that Dr. Smith does not feel comfortable sedating on his own.  For these patients he brings in Heather Reimund from Sacramento.  Heather has been a nurse anesthetist for over 30 years treating all sorts of special needs and medically compromised patients.  For special needs patients like autism, Down’s syndrome, and cerebral palsy, Heather will start them with a sedative drink.  This will allow her to place the IV.  Once she has that in place she uses her vast experience to chose just the right medication to sedate the patient and allow Dr. Smith to do his work.


Northpoint Outpatient Surgery Center

Although Dr. Smith does not use this option often, there are been some patients who require a hospital environment to have their dental work done.  Dr. Smith has privileges at the Northpoint Surgery Center for those patients that require general anesthesia for their dental work.  Here they are intubated and put under general anesthesia by an anesthesiologist.  Dr. Smith performs the needed dental work right there in the operating room.

In Fresno, there are only a few dentists who are licensed to perform Intravenous Sedation.  The training and licensing required to do IV sedation are extensive, so most dentists who advertise “Sedation Dentistry” are only using a pill to mildly sedate or relax people.