People often find it difficult to see the dentist for one reason or another.
Some are simply afraid of the drill, or the dentist, or the pain.
Others may not like the thought of losing control and giving it all to the dentist.
The good news is that any one of these reasons can be comfortably dealt with through sedation dentistry.
The goal of sedation dentistry is to enable patients to relax while being treated by the dentist or the dental technician.
Fear prevents the person from relaxing, and the dental work may not completed due to this.
All About Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry also goes by other popular names that include painless dentistry, relaxation dentistry, twilight dentistry and sleep dentistry.
While these names make it sound like the patient is asleep, the goal is to make them very relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that they do not care about the treatment.
The patient can still respond to the dentist. They are not being given general anesthesia, and they are still conscious.
Some people, however, will go to sleep because they are so relaxed. And they can still be aroused easily.
The drugs used in sleep dentistry, even though they relax the patient, will often enhance the feeling of pain.
In order to counter this effect, the dentist will still use local anesthesia, given by a local injection.
Because some patients want sleep dentistry due to fear of pain or injections, they will already be very relaxed before receiving the local anesthesia. At that point, they will likely not care one way or another.
Why Dentists Like Sedation
Sedation dentistry enables dentists to be able to accomplish the needed dental procedure in spite of the patient’s fear.
It lets those people who have avoided treatment for a long time because of their dental phobia get the treatment and dental care they need.
In fact, they can even get more than just the basic care and receive more involved care such as root canals or dental implants.
Conscious sedation offers a way for many people with various fears or dental problems to receive much needed treatment.
Populations Who Benefit Most from Sedation Dentistry
This type of treatment is perfect for people who are:
• Afraid of dentists
• Have a severe gag reflex
• Have sensitive teeth,
• Need multiple treatments at one time
• People with special needs
Various Types of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry offers people several options when it comes to helping you relax while in the dentist’s chair.
There are four different kinds or levels of sedation to meet your needs.
The dentist will discuss your needs for sedation beforehand and will make recommendations.
Nitrous oxide – This type of sedation is minimal. It’s often referred to as “laughing gas.” The gas is mixed with oxygen and the dentist can control the mixture, making it stronger as needed.
When the dentist has completed the work, the gas is simply turned off and you’re briefly given pure oxygen to bring you out of sedation.
With this kind, you will probably be able to drive home because it can wear off quickly.
Oral sedation – This is given through a pill, usually Halcion. It will need to be taken about an hour prior to the appointment. The strength will vary, but it will not put you to sleep.
You will feel drowsy, and you might want to sleep during the procedure, but you can usually be wakened rather easily.
This is the most common method of oral sedation. Sometimes, laughing gas is used in combination with this.
IV sedation – The sedative is given directly into a vein in your arm. Because the needle is attached to your arm, the dentist can adjust the level of sedation at any time.
It also works very fast. It will not be cleared out of your system quickly, however, so you’ll need someone to drive you home.
General anesthesia – This type completely makes the patient unconscious. Most people do not need this level of sedation.
Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.