Comparing Oral and Intravenous Sedation
Comparing Oral and Intravenous Sedation

Comparing Oral and Intravenous Sedation

Sedation dentistry provides a way for those who experience anxiety or fear about visiting the dentist to get the treatment they need. It is also helping in relieving pain, and enabling more dental work to be performed in one visit. Two common methods of administering sedation are oral and intravenous (IV). Each type has its own unique characteristics and attributes.

Oral sedation involves swallowing pills or liquids. There are no shots, which is good news for patients afraid of needles. However, oral sedatives are less predictable because each medication affects people differently based on age, weight, medical history, and more. Also, there is a time delay between swallowing it and taking effect. Since the medication is absorbed through digestion, it is difficult to alter the sedation level quickly during treatment. Nearly all patients respond well to oral sedation, with few occurrences of any side effects. Patients typically don’t remember anything that occurred during treatment.

IV sedation means that the medication goes directly into the blood stream though an IV injection. A very powerful method, the effects are instant once the shot is given. If the medication begins to wear off, more can be administered through the IV for immediate results. IV sedation is very common during oral surgeries, which benefit from the ability to alter the medication dosage as needed. It is advantageous for long procedures or when multiple treatments are being done in one sitting. Patients will not remember the procedure or sometimes even the appointment at all. The biggest drawback of IV sedation is for patients who dislike needles. IV sedation requires that the dentist have special training and certification, so make sure that your dentist is qualified if this method is offered.

Both types of sedation can be effective depending on the situation and patient. Discuss your case with your dentist to help you decide which one might be the best for you.


If you live in the Morehead City area contact us today

Oral Conscious Sedation: Frequently Asked Questions

Oral Conscious Sedation: Frequently Asked Questions

Fear and anxiety make dental treatment a challenge for many people. Sedation dentistry offers many options to help patients overcome their fears and experience a more comfortable, relaxing treatment. One of the most common options in sedation dentistry is oral conscious sedation. Here are some common questions about oral conscious sedation and answers about how it can help alleviate your stress about undergoing dental procedures:

  • What is oral conscious sedation? This type of sedation utilizes a combination of pain relievers and sedatives to induce an altered state of consciousness that allows you to undergo all kinds of dental treatment in a totally relaxed and comfortable state.
  • Am I asleep during the procedure? Patients who receive oral conscious sedation are drowsy but awake and able to communicate with their dental professional. This type of dental sedation allows you to be relaxed but aware.
  • Will I feel pain during the dental treatment? With oral conscious sedation, you will most likely not feel any discomfort or pain.
  • Is oral conscious sedation safe? While it is considered safe for most patients, your dentist will evaluate your medical and dental health to determine if you are a good candidate for oral sedation.
  • Can I resume normal activity immediately after receiving oral sedation? Because you may still be slightly drowsy and under the effects of the medication, it is advised that you arrange to have a friend or family member drive you home after treatment.
  • Will I have bad memories of my dental treatment? With oral conscious sedation, you will feel completely relaxed and have little to no memory of your dental procedures.

Thanks to sedation dentistry options like oral conscious sedation, you no longer have to dread or postpone necessary dental treatment due to fear and anxiety. Contact your dentist to find out how they can help you conquer your fears and restore your oral health with this gentle approach to dentistry.


We look forward to seeing you in our Morehead City dental office

A History of Sedation Dentistry

A History of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry, also known as “sleep dentistry,” refers to the practice of calming and relaxing a patient prior to a dental procedure with the use of pharmacological agents. Sedation dentistry began in the late 1700s when a chemist named Humphry Davy began experimenting with inhaled gasses and first observed the analgesic effects of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” on himself and on dental patients.

In 1844, an American dentist named Horace Wells used nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic during the extraction of his own molar tooth. Wells made the observation that while he experienced very little pain while undergoing the extraction, he was still fully conscious during the procedure. A few years later, dentist William Morton and surgeon John Warren performed a public oral surgery at Harvard University, demonstrating the analgesic properties of a sulfur-ether compound, further proving that sedation dentistry should be explored further.

For years, trial and error procedures informed doctors of the safety of various levels of pain-relieving gasses. It was discovered that 100% nitrous oxide, when used in prolonged dental cases, could lead to hypoxia, a condition in which the body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to thrive, something that can eventually lead to death. Finally, a Chicago surgeon named Dr. Edmund Andrews began mixing nitrous oxide with oxygen, administering them simultaneously. This allowed for safer analgesic options for both surgical and dental procedures. Ether and chloroform, combined with some nitrous oxide, was later shown to provide deeper sedation for prolonged treatments.

Intravenous (IV) sedation began in the 1960s at the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California. Dentists there experimented with IV sedation for the highest level of management for pain, anxiety and fear for dental patients undergoing surgery.

Today, dentists routinely turn to sedation dentistry for their patients to relieve pain, stress and to provide the most comfortable dental therapies as possible. Talk to your dentist to discover the latest sedation dentistry options and to see how they can help you positively experience your next dental procedure.


We look forward to seeing you in our Morehead City dental office

Tips for Fighting Dental Fears

Tips for Fighting Dental Fears

If you experience fear about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Studies show that about 50% of adults experience some level of fear about dental visits, with 5% of those suffering from severe anxiety. However, patient’s wishes for a nice smile and good oral health allow them to overcome their fears and visit their dentist in spite of their qualms.

These are some techniques that many patients use that enable them to get through their dental appointments successfully:

  • Using internal resources – telling yourself you can do it even though you are nervous
  • Prayer – relying on a higher power to help you through the treatment
  • Self distraction – singing to yourself or playing mental games to keep your mind off of what’s happening
  • Distancing – convincing yourself that any pain feels like something else, such as numbness
  • Optimism – focusing on what’s ahead after your appointment is over

In fact, optimism seems to be one of the biggest keys to overcoming your dental fears. Patients who use this method have been shown to visit the dentist more regularly than other patients who suffer from anxiety about dental treatment. Studies also reveal that humor is another important part of dealing with dental visits. Humor can break down psychological barriers, and allow the patient to feel more comfortable in their interactions with the dentist and staff. An atmosphere of humor tends to reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being and satisfaction in a potentially nervous situation.

However, if none of these techniques work for you, sedation dentistry is a option to consider. At  Comprehensive Dental Center we offer a variety of sedation options.

Whatever methods you implement to help you through your dental visit, the most important thing is sticking with it and returning again for your next visit. Your dental health is dependant upon regular dentist’s care.

Dentist in Morehead City for patients with dental phobias.

The Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

The Advantages of Sedation Dentistry

Giving some form of a sedative medication to patients during dental treatment is what sedation dentistry is all about. It causes relaxation and decreases anxiety so that the patient is comfortable and the dentist can work safely and efficiently. Sedation dentistry is most popular for those who experience mild to moderate dental anxiety, patients who have dental phobias, and children who are frightened by dental visits.

There are a number of advantages that sedation dentistry offers to both patients and dentists. Here are some reasons that it is popular with patients:

  • Pain is diminished so that the patient hardly feels the instruments, needles, or anything else as part of the treatment.
  • Awareness is reduced so that that patient doesn’t realize exactly what is happening and doesn’t keep track of the time spent in the dental chair.
  • Anxiety is lessened so the patient feels calm and carefree while undergoing treatment that normally might cause upset.
  • Side effects are minimal and rare, making sedation dentistry both safe and effective.
  • The gag reflex is reduced so patients who might normally have problems gagging during treatment are able to undergo procedures without issues.
  • Time is saved for the patient because often all treatments can be performed in one office visit, instead of having to make several trips and miss more time from work or other activities.

Dentists enjoy benefits of sedation dentistry as well:

  • Patients are more cooperative and able to sit still during treatment, allowing dentists to get the job done with less trouble.
  • Multiple procedures can be done in a single office visit, so the dentist can accomplish more in a single time slot.
  • Reflexes of the patient are more controlled so that movement is less haphazard and the dentist can work more efficiently.


We look forward to seeing you in our Morehead City dental office

Comprehensive Dental Center

Dr. Jack T. Winchester
3705 Symi Circle
Morehead City, NC 28557
252-247-3510

Our practice is conveniently located in Morehead City, NC

Our Hours
Monday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Tuesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Friday: Closed

Directions to our office