Although having a root canal is typically painless, you may be anxious or apprehensive about the procedure. You may have had a previous bad dental experience, or just find the whole idea worrisome. We know that your dentist is trusting us to take care of you. We strive to make sure your visit is calming and comfortable and it starts with our team. We put ourselves in your shoes and treat you as such. Our office has TV’s with headphones in every operatory to help as a distraction and even entertain you during the procedure. If just distracting you doesn’t ease your mind, Keystone Endodontics offers several levels of sedation. This list describes each, from least to most sedating:
Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
N2O is a sweet-smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas. During the procedure, you breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask that is placed over your nose. Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep. You will still receive lidocaine (Novocain) for your root canal procedure. The area around the involved tooth will be numb, so you will not feel anything and the nitrous oxide will lessen anxiety and create a relaxed, or even euphoric, feeling. Nitrous oxide works very quickly and wears off quickly. The level of relaxation can be adjusted by changing the concentration of nitrous oxide. After the procedure, you will breathe pure oxygen until all of the effects of the nitrous oxide are gone. If you have never tried nitrous oxide before, we do not recommend this method because it is the least predictable. If you have used nitrous oxide before and find it to be helpful, then this is a good solution.
You will be able to drive after this type of sedation. You may resume your normal daily activities immediately.
Oral sedation is a more effective method for relaxation than nitrous oxide. You take the oral sedative (pills) on an empty stomach, two hours before your appointment. It will make you drowsy, although you'll still be awake. You will still receive lidocaine (Novocain) for your root canal procedure. The area around the involved tooth will be numb, so you will not feel anything. You may become relaxed enough from oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. However, you can be awakened with a gentle shake. If you would like to view and download the specific instructions for child or adult sedation, just click on the links in blue.
You will need a driver for this type of sedation. Once the procedure is over, most patients will go home, sleep and not remember the procedure at all. You should not plan to do anything the rest of the day.
IV Sedation or Unconscious Sedation
This procedure involves an anesthesiologist who comes to our office. The anesthesiologist will give you the sedative medication through a vein, so it goes to work very quickly. The anesthesiologist will monitor your breathing and oxygen levels during the root canal procedure. You will still receive lidocaine (Novocain) for your root canal procedure. The area around the involved tooth will be numb. You will be completely asleep until the procedure is complete. Then the anesthesiologist will bring you back out of the sedation.
You will need a driver for this type of sedation. You should not plan to do anything the rest of the day.
The anesthesiologist is a separate specialist who charges for his services separately. You will need to make the financial arrangements for his services with his administrative people before treatment.