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Sedation Dentistry: The Solution to Extreme Anxiety


Sedation dentistry

The thought of going to the dentist makes your blood run cold? You’d rather deal with severe tooth pain than make an appointment? It turns out there is a solution. It is sedation dentistry. Dentists use it for everything from simple cleaning to surgery. Read on to find out how.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dentists use certain medication to help their patients keep calm. Sedation dentistry is also known as sleep dentistry, but that’s a misleading term because the patient is normally awake.

Types and Levels of Sedation

Levels of sedation range from minimal to deep. Deep sedation is where a patient can wake, but they are on the verge of being unconscious. With moderate sedation, they might experience speech difficulty, such as slurring, and will forget most of the procedure. The lowest level is minimal, where the patient is merely calmer and more relaxed. They are fully awake.

If a dentist administers a general anesthetic to you, you will be fully unconscious.

Types of sedation include oral, inhaled, and IV sedation. Oral sedation can range from mild to moderate depending on the amount. Patients typically take pills for minimal sedation about 45 minutes before their procedure. To produce a moderate effect, patients get a bigger dose. This type of sedation is the one most commonly linked to sedation dentistry. It is possible to fall asleep, but you will wake up easily.

The second type of sedation is where the patient breathes nitrous oxide in. They receive this through a mask put over their nose. Nitrous oxide is a gas, also known as “laughing gas”. The dentist adjusts the amount administered, because its effects are quite brief. In fact, it is so harmless that you can drive after the appointment.

If quicker onset is required, your dentist will opt for IV sedation. The patient gets the sedative drug through their vein. The dentist adjusts the sedation level continuously here too.

Usually, you will also get local anesthesia regardless of which sedation type and level you receive. This is to relieve any discomfort or pain in the mouth.

Who is Sedation Dentistry Suitable for?

Sedation is suitable for people who are very fidgety. To have a dental procedure performed, you need to sit still. It is also appropriate for those with very sensitive teeth and those who have a low pain threshold or a bad gag reflex. It’s a good idea if the dentist needs to complete a lot of dental work. Children who don’t cooperate during a visit or are very afraid of the dentist may receive sedation. It is suitable as long as it corresponds to their age and weight.

Is Sedation Safe?

The risk with sedation is the same as the risk with anesthesia in general. People who suffer from sleep apnea or obesity should talk to a doctor in advance as complications are possible. Your dentist will go over your history prior to the procedure and ask if you’re on any medication.

Who Can Perform Sedation Dentistry?

Most dentists can give a minimal level of sedation and many are qualified to offer moderate sedation. With deep sedation, things are more complicated. Only dentists who have passed the CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) deep sedation program can put patients under general anesthesia and deep sedation.

Usually, these professionals are surgeons. A lot of practices employ dental anesthesiologists. They are trained to provide sedation on all levels. They are qualified to sedate adults and children. Do you think sedation dentistry can help you? Call Sunrise Dental Care for more information!

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