Sedation dentistry provides a relaxing and anxiety-free treatment to people fearing dentistry treatment. Some individuals may be too afraid of going to the dentists and may have a condition like a dental phobia. Sedation helps these patients feel at ease.
Sedation dentistry uses medications to relax the patients during dental procedures. In this, the patients are usually awake, though the patients under general anesthesia may lose their consciousness, and in this case, it is referred to as sleep dentistry.
Sedation levels may differ from patient to patient and also are different for different treatments:
- Minimal Sedation– the patient is awake but in a relaxed condition
- Moderate Sedation– The patient may be in a subconscious state and may slur his/her words and also may not remember much of the procedure. This procedure is formerly referred to as ‘conscious sedation.’
- Deep Sedation– The patient reaches the edge of the consciousness but still can be awakened.
- General anesthesia– The person is entirely in an unconscious state.
Types of Sedation used in dentistry
- Inhaled minimal sedation– The patient breathes nitrous oxide (Laughing gas) mixed with oxygen through a mask placed over the patient’s nose. The gas helps the patient to relax. The dentist controls the amount of sedation gas inhaled, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This type of sedation stays for the shortest time, and the patient can even drive himself/herself home after the treatment.
- Oral sedation- Oral sedation ranges from minimal to moderate depending on the amount of dose given. Minimal sedation is done through a pill which makes the person drowsy, but he/she stays awake. More massive dose results in moderate sedation. This type of sedation is the one commonly used in sedation dentistry. Some people even may fall asleep during the procedure through this kind of sedation but can be awakened by a gentle shake.
- IV Moderate sedation– Person receives the drug through a vein, thus working is much faster. This method allows the dentist to regulate the level of sedation continuously.
- Deep sedation and general sedation– The medications, in this case, make the patient almost unconscious or wholly unconscious, i.e., entirely asleep during the procedure. In this case, the person cannot be easily awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or reversed with some reversing medication.
Regardless of the type of sedation used the person also needs a local anesthetic at the site where the dentist carries out his work in the mouth, which numbs that area to relieve pain even if the above drug loses their effect. Patients requiring sedation during dental treatment.
Sedation is majorly used for people who have a fear of the dentist treatment or feel anxiety during the procedure.
It is also used for:
- Those having a low pain threshold
- People who are incapable of sitting still in the dentist’s chair
- Patients having sensitive teeth
- People having a bad gag reflex
- Patients who need a considerable amount of work done to their teeth.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
Without any doubt, there is always a risk when it comes to anesthesia. It is safer if given by an experienced dentist. However, some people like those having obesity or having obstructive sleep apnea must talk with their dentists before going for sedation as they may develop complications from the anesthesia.
Take care that the following steps are followed:
- Before the procedure, your dentist must study your medical history. This analysis will help the dentist determine whether you are a perfect candidate for sedation and any complications will not arise.
- One should take the information about the amount of sedative appropriate for one’s age and health.
- The dentist must give you a form having a detail about the risks accompanying the procedure. Go through it carefully and clear the doubts if any, before going for the method.
People fearing dentistry who are reluctant of visiting the dentists are more likely not ignore their oral health and make frequent visits. The points can be summed up as:
- Patient relaxation
- Increased comfort
- Control of movement of the patient
- Increased cooperation by the patient
- Controlling gag reflex
- Little or even no memory of treatment
Benefits of sedation dentistry
A significant advantage of sedation dentistry is making the patients feel at ease during the dental procedure. Dr. Paul Kim, a Torrance Dentist, says that the patient feels that the dental treatment lasted only for a few minutes, even if it may have taken hours to perform. Therefore, challenging treatments such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures requiring multiple visits can often be done with fewer appointments.
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