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Oral Conscious Sedation Vs. Nitrous Oxide Sedation: What's The Difference?

July 26, 2021

If you’re interested in sedation dentistry in Southington, you may be wondering what the best option is for you. Two of the most common types of sedation are oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation, and we offer both at Southington Dentistry. But what’s the difference? Is one option better than the other? What should you choose? Let’s explore these questions now, and compare the differences between oral conscious sedation vs. nitrous oxide sedation.

  1. Method Of Administration

First, the method of administering sedation is very different. For nitrous oxide, Dr. Salesky will place a comfortable mask over your nose. Then, he will use a machine to send a precisely calculated amount of nitrous oxide and oxygen through the mask. You’ll breathe in, and the sedative will take effect almost immediately. Oral sedation uses a pill that you’ll take before your appointment. As you digest the pill, powerful anti-anxiety medication will begin entering your bloodstream. There’s no need to wear a mask or any other special equipment during your procedure, which some patients may prefer.

  1. Depth Of Sedation

Nitrous oxide provides “lighter” sedation than oral conscious sedation. You won’t feel sleepy or groggy, or forget what happens during your procedure. However, you will feel relaxed, euphoric (happy), and more comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Nitrous oxide also helps eliminate feelings of pain and/or discomfort.  In contrast, oral sedation has much deeper effects. You may feel groggy and tired, and may fall asleep during your procedure. You won’t be unconscious, though, and can be roused and respond to commands. It’s also common to experience “anterograde amnesia,” where you’ll forget most or all of what happened during your appointment.  This makes oral conscious sedation a better option for patients with more serious anxiety, or for more invasive dental surgeries like tooth extractions and dental implants.

  1. Duration & Intensity Of Side Effects

Nitrous oxide wears off completely after about 5 minutes, after which you can drive yourself home and go back to your normal routine. You may experience some mild effects like a headache, nausea, or confusion, but these will fade fast. Oral sedation lasts about 4-6 hours, and some of its effects can persist for up to 24 hours. You will need someone to drive you to and from our office, and you should not go back to work or school after your appointment. Its side effects are also more intense, and can include headaches, disorientation, nausea and vomiting, and dry mouth. 

  1. Treatment Cost

Nitrous oxide is a simpler and cheaper method of sedation at most dental offices, making it a good choice for patients who may be on a budget, but still wish to remain comfortable during treatment. Oral sedation is a bit more expensive, so it’s often not used for minor procedures like fillings or dental cleanings, though we can still provide it upon request at Southington Dentistry. 

Interested In Sedation Dentistry In Southington? Come To Our Office!

At Southington Dentistry, Dr. Neil Salesky helps patients throughout Southington, Plantsville, and Wolcott get the dental care they need with sedation dentistry. Still not sure which method of sedation may be right for you? Contact us online or give us a call at (860) 628-5029 to schedule a consultation and learn more from Dr. Salesky.

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