Root canals have a somewhat undeserved reputation for being a long and painful procedure. As a result, many patients request ways to undergo the procedure in a way that reduces anxiety and maximizes their personal comfort.
If you're one of the many dental patients who are facing root canal surgery, then chances are you want to know your sedation options.
What Sedatives Are Used?
Depending on your own personal preference and your dentist's recommendation, there are several different sedative types that can be used to maximize your comfort during the root canal procedure:
- Oral sedatives – A very common sedative option, oral sedatives are ideal for those with an aversion to needles. Oral sedatives are usually taken at least an hour prior to the procedure.
- Intravenous (IV) sedative – IV sedatives are administered directly into your vein for the fastest and most effective results. One benefit of IV sedation is that it can be continued all throughout the procedure as necessary.
- Intramuscular (IM) sedative – In contrast to IV sedation, intramuscular sedatives are delivered into the upper arm or upper thigh muscles. IM sedation is typically used only in cases where other forms of sedation are not feasible.
- Inhalation – Nitrous oxide and other forms of inhaled sedatives are commonly used in most dental practices. These gases can be used to ease mild and moderate anxiety, with the added benefit of quick recovery for the patient.
Different Levels of Sedation
The above sedatives can be used to achieve different states of sedation:
- Mild sedation – Mild sedation is the lightest form of sedation, as it keeps you in a moderately awake yet pain-free state throughout the procedure. Effective for those with mild anxiety, dentists commonly use oral sedatives for this specific type of sedation.
- Moderate sedation – Those with moderate anxiety or longer dental procedures are likely to benefit from moderate sedation. Normally achieved with intravenous (IV) sedatives, moderate sedation often leaves patients awake, but in a deep state of relaxation. It's usually recommended to have a relative or close friend take you to and from your appointment, as it may be unsafe to drive back on your own.
- Deep sedation – Those who undergo deep sedation drift in and out of consciousness during the procedure and have no recollection of the treatment. Many patients choose deep sedation for this very reason, especially if they have high levels of anxiety. As with moderate sedation, it's a good idea to have someone accompany you to your appointment. It could take up to several hours for the sedative's effects to fully wear off.
Your dentist like Rick Chavez DDS will help you decide which type of sedation works best for your needs.