Dentistry For Your Comfort

At Signature Smiles, we have the best dentists that are highly experienced with oral and IV sedations in order to help keep you or your child calm throughout any dental treatment. Our use of only the highest quality of sedation medicine is for your comfort and peace of mind.


Sedation Dentistry

Our Houston dentists offers oral sedation. Our dentists are able to perform dental fillings, root canals, extractions, and even dental implants much easier with oral sedation or IV sedation.


What Is Sedation?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It's sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry" because some patients prefer to sleep during their procedure. Patients are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.

In contrast to general anesthesia, which renders the person unconscious, oral sedation is only intended to reduce the person's anxiety and discomfort during dental visits. In some cases, the person may become drowsy or less active while sedated, but this will quickly desist after the procedure iscompleted.


When Is Sedation Used?

Sedation is used in several circumstances, such as the following:

  • First, very young children are often unable to keep still long enough for the pediatric dentist to perform high-precision procedures safely. Sedation makes the visit less stressful for both the parent and child and vastly reduces the risk of injury.
  • Second, some children struggle to manage anxiety during dental appointments. Sedation helps them to relax, cope, and feel happier about treatment.
  • Third, sedation is particularly useful for children with special needs. It prevents spontaneous movement, and guides cooperative behavior.


What Are the Most Common Types of Sedation?

Most pediatric dentists have several sedation options available, and each one comes with its own particular benefits. The dentist will assess the medical history of the child, the expected duration of the procedure, and the child’s comfort level before recommending a method of sedation.

Conscious sedation allows children to continually communicate, follow instructions, and cooperate during the entire procedure. The major methods of conscious sedation are described below:


Nitrous Oxide

The pediatric dentist may recommend nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas”, for children who exhibit particular signs of nervousness or anxiety. Nitrous oxide is delivered via a mask, which is placed over the child’s nose. Nitrous oxide is always combined with oxygen, meaning that the child can comfortably breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.


Laughing Gas

Laughing Gas relaxes children very quickly, and can produce happy, euphoric behavior. It is also quick acting, painless to deliver, and wears off within a matter of minutes. Before removing the mask completely, the pediatric dentist delivers regular oxygen for several minutes, to ensure the nitrous oxide is eliminated from the child’s body. On rare occasions, nitrous oxide may cause nausea. For this reason, most pediatric dentists suggest minimal food intake prior to the appointment.


Oral Sedation

For adults, we offer a safe sedative medication that you can drink or take by pill. We understand dentistry can be a bit daunting and we offer this option here in our Houston office, along with a monitor. For your appointment, please have a driver drop you off and pick you up.

Children who are uncooperative, particularly anxious, or unable to control their muscles for prolonged periods, may be offered an oral sedative. Oral sedatives come in many different forms, usually tablets, pills, and liquids, and may make the child feel drowsy. If oral sedatives are to be used, the pediatric dentist may require parents to prepare the child before the appointment. Some common preparatory measures may include: limiting food and fluid intake prior to the appointment, having the child wear comfortable clothing to the appointment, and preparing to stay with the child for several hours after the appointment. Oral sedatives rarely produce serious side effects; nausea is among the most common.


IV Sedation

Unlike oral sedation, where the patient remains conscious, the IV sedated patient will be unconscious. They will not be aware of the dental treatment and before they know it, the procedure is complete. Patients typically comment that with IV sedation they feel rested after their dental visit. We've also heard that they had the best sleep of their life.

IV sedations are available to everyone 3 years and older. IV sedation normally lasts one hour, which is the average time required to complete a dental treatment such as extraction, root canal, dental implants, and other oral surgeries.


What About General Anesthesia?

Signature Smiles has expanded and completed its Alliance Surgical Center.

General anesthesia, which puts a patient in a deep sleep, is also used in dental work. Range of services include:

  • Pediatric and children dentistry for special, highly anxious, or patients too young to tolerate major dental work
  • Dental implants
  • Tooth extractions, including wisdom tooth extraction
  • Oral surgery, including the drainage of large infections/cysts, special boney removal of Tori, emergency dental procedures
  • Periodontics (Gum Surgery)
  • Endodontics (Root Canals)

General anesthesia requires more intensive preparation before the treatment and a longer period of recovery after the treatment. 

If you have questions or concerns about sedation techniques, please contact our practice.