What is sedation dentistry?
For many people, going to the dentist is anxiety provoking. It can be so worrisome that they would rather forgo treatment which can cause worse problems down the line. Going to the dentist is a necessity though so sedation dentistry is an option for those who have a debilitating fear of the dentist.
Dental sedation is not just for invasive procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction, it can also be used for a simple tooth cleaning.
Medication is used by dentists for patients who have a difficult time relaxing in the dental chair. There are levels of sedation for those who need to simply be calmed to patients who need to be completely unconscious. Minimal sedation is when the patient is awake and aware of the dental procedure but completely relaxed. Moderate sedation is when the patient may slur his/her words and will probably not remember the procedure. When the patient is just at the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened easily this is deep sedation. A patient who is completely unconscious is under general anesthesia.
The types of sedation that dentists use include
- Inhaled minimal sedation
- Oral sedation
- IV moderate sedation
- Deep sedation
- General anesthesia
Nitrous oxide is introduced to the patient’s body through a mask placed over his/her nose. Inhaled minimal sedation helps the patient to relax and the dentist can easily control the amount of sedation received. Inhaled minimal sedation is the only sedation form where the patient can drive home after visiting the dentist.
If you have any questions call Dr. Heather Darcey at Space Age Smiles 281-317-6881
Oral sedation ranges from minimal to moderate. A pill, Halcion, is taken for minimal sedation. For moderate sedation, a larger dose of the pill will be given. Even though a patient may fall asleep during the procedure, he or she can usually be awakened with a gentle shake.
IV moderate sedation is when the sedative is given to a patient through a vein so it works more quickly than a pill. The dentist will be able to adjust the level of sedation throughout the procedure.
Deep sedation and general anesthesia will cause the patient to become almost unconscious or completely unconscious during the procedure.
Even though the patient may be under sedation, a local anesthetic will also be used to relieve any pain during the procedure if need be.
Possible patients who need dental sedation include:
- Patients with high anxiety who refuse to go to the dentist
- Patients with a low pain threshold
- Patients who are fidgety during the procedure
- Patients with highly sensitive teeth
- Patients who have a bad gag reflex
- Patients who need a lot of dental work
There are risks as with any type of anesthesia, however, it is usually safe. Obese patients or patients with obstructive sleep apnea should speak with their physician before sedation occurs. Make sure to ask the dentist any questions or voice concerns before proceeding with dental sedation.
If you have any questions about dental sedation, contact Dr. Heather Darcey at Space Age Smiles, 281-317-6881 .