Which Drugs Will Be Used?

A combination of nitrous oxide – oxygen is usually administered.  When a deeper level of conscious sedation is required, nitrous oxide can be supplemented with a specific sedative drug dependent upon your individual needs.  

Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen

Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O/O2) represents a blend of two gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen.  When inhaled, you will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma.  The gases are absorbed through your lungs into your body.  Nitrous Oxide has a calming carefree effect while at the same time raising your threshold to pain.  Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide from the body in 10-15 minutes.  When nitrous oxide is employed as the sole sedative agent you will be able to resume all regular activities including operating a motor vehicle after your appointment. This represents a significant benefit.

Versed® (Midazolam)

Versed® is a short acting Valium® type drug.  It has a bitter taste however, only small amounts are required. The sedative effects of Versed® occur within 20-30 minutes and the drug remains effective for approximately 30 minutes before starting to wear off.  Versed® is a memory blocker (anterograde amnesia). Most patients tend not to fully remember their dental appointment.  Liquid Advil is often employed to mask the taste of Versed®. Versed® is employed when sedation is required for short length treatments. Remember however to arrange travel arrangements home.

Ativan® (Lorazepan)

Ativan® is medium term Valium® type drug. It is administered sublingually (beneath the tongue) and takes effect within 45-60 minutes. The clinical sedative effects of Ativan® can persist for up to 12-15 hours. It is important that arrangements be made for someone to both take you home and monitor you throughout the period the sedative is still active in your system.

Halcion® (Triazolam)

Halcion® is medium term Valium® type drug.  It is administered sublingually and takes effect within 30-45 minutes.  The duration of action of Halcion® however is shorter than Ativan® with sedative effects persisting from 1 ½ to 5 ½ hours.  Similar precautions should be followed regarding abstaining from operating machinery and arranging post operative monitoring when Halcion® is employed as a sedative agent.  A significant advantage of utilizing either Ativan® or Halcion® for surgery relates to these drugs’ anterograde amnesia effect. Although you will remain conscious throughout your appointment, due to the anterograde amnesia effect, the next day you may have little recollection of the surgical events.  This represents a profound benefit in reducing anxiety should periodontal or dental care be required in future.

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