Those who fear the dentist don’t have to endure their toothache for much longer. Thanks to sedation dentistry, patients can finally relax in the dentist’s chair and get the treatment they need. This has helped many individuals get the smile of their dreams without letting their anxiety get the better of them.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is used to help patients feel calmer during their dental treatments. Its primary focus is to relieve stress and pain for those who may be feeling anxious about their upcoming appointment. Sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although most of the sedatives used do not put you to sleep.
The levels of sedation can range from minimal (being awake but relaxed) to deep (almost unconscious but can still wake up).
Types of Sedation Used in Density
In dentistry, there are four types of sedation options available for patients. Your dentist can determine the kind you will need based on your comfort levels and the procedure you’re getting. Your options include:
This kind of sedation is taken orally in pill form, generally a few hours before your appointment. Your dentist will prescribe you a type of benzodiazepine, which will decrease activity in sections of the brain that control fear and anxiety. You should feel relaxed and calm as you go into your treatment.
Oral sedation is the easiest type to administer but takes some time before the effects kick in.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
Patients who get this form of sedation will have it administered intravenously. This requires your doctor to place a needle in your vein. The medication will then go directly into your vein through a tube. IV sedation puts you in a twilight state, where you’re not completely unconscious.
The effects of the medication should work almost immediately since it’s going through your veins. You will also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the office if you get IV sedation.
This form of sedation is often referred to as “laughing gas.” Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas that can make you feel calmer. It’s administered through a face mask that allows you to inhale it. It doesn’t put you to sleep – it simply makes you comfortable enough to undergo certain dental treatments.
The effects of nitrous oxide generally wear off quickly, and you should be able to drive yourself home after taking some.
General anesthesia uses a combination of medications to put you to sleep before a surgery. This is the only sedative that leaves you completely unconscious, so you won’t feel any pain or remember anything about the procedure. People can take general anesthesia through a mask or an IV.
While you’re under general anesthesia, your brain doesn’t respond to pain signals or reflexes. You’re required to fast between six to twelve hours before the treatment and will need someone to drive you home.
When Do You Need Sedation?
Patients may choose to get sedation for various reasons, from pain management to anxiety management. Below are some of the most common reasons people consider asking their dentists about this service.
For Dental Anxiety
People with dental anxiety try to avoid the dentist at all costs. This can mean putting off necessary dental treatments, which eventually becomes an issue. If your fear of seeing the dentist is that bad, sedation can help keep you relaxed during your appointment. It’s also ideal for patients with general anxiety disorder.
For Lengthy Procedures
Sedation may be necessary for longer or more multiple procedures. In this case, your doctor may adjust the level of sedation throughout the surgery. Patients generally cannot handle the pain of long or continuous treatment, and they may feel fatigued after some time. Sedation helps keep them calm and comfortable so they can get through lengthy procedures with ease.
For Sensitive Gag Reflexes
It may be harder for some dentists to perform simple dental checkups because of patients with sensitive gas reflexes. Sedation dentistry helps control the natural response to oral intrusion by paralyzing the gagging response temporarily. This makes the appointment much easier for you and significantly reduces the risk of complications.
Many patients are concerned about pain during major dental treatments, which is where sedation comes in handy. Your dentist may recommend this option if you’re worried about certain procedures causing too much discomfort for you.
How Can Dentists Determine the Best Type of Sedation for You?
Determining which form of sedation dentistry will be best for you depends on the procedure you’re getting and your comfort level. For example, minor dental services like fillings don’t require general anesthesia since the dentist will numb the area. However, you may want to take an oral sedative to keep you relaxed during the treatment.
Services like root canals or dental implants require more drilling, so you’ll need something to relax you and manage your pain. This is where stronger sedatives and anesthesia can help.
Learn How Much Sedation Dentistry Can Help You During Your Next Appointment!
Sedation has been helping individuals and dentists have seamless appointments and surgeries. It’s usually safe with minimal risks, but you still should talk to your dentist if this is something you’re considering. They can determine your candidacy based on your medical history and several other factors. Your overall safety is a priority after all!
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