Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as "laughing gas," is the lightest form of sedation. A mask is placed over your nose, and you simply inhale. This type of sedation has several benefits. First, you are in control. For a stronger effect, you only need to breathe deeper or more often. Second, the effects wear off quickly.
As soon as the mask is off, the effects are gone. You aren't left with the groggy feeling that other sedatives give. And you don't have to worry about having anyone else drive you home. Finally, nitrous oxide is one of the most affordable options for sedation. Nitrous oxide only slightly reduces awareness, however, and may not be the best choice if you are extremely anxious.
The next level of sedation is oral sedatives. You take a medication approximately 30 minutes to an hour before your procedure, which gives the medication time to work. Once they kick in, the effects last. Oral sedatives are more potent than nitrous oxide. You are still conscious, but you may or may not remember parts of, or the whole, procedure.
There is no way to gauge when, exactly, the medication will go to work, or how long it will last (as the effects vary person to person), so it is important to make sure that you have someone who can drive you to and from your appointment.
IV sedation is the strongest form of sedation. It is administered directly into your vein and works almost immediately. You may be conscious during the procedure, but you are completely unaware of what is happening. You will feel quite groggy after the procedure, and will need someone to drive you home.
If you are nervous about your oral surgery procedure, be sure to contact our office today about which type of oral sedation will be best for you.