What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is provided to patients who are unable to undergo routine dental care due to high anxiety or fear. Sedation can help to reduce both anxiety and discomfort during your appointment if you find …relaxation. Sedation is generally provided via the administration of medication at the beginning of your appointment.
There are several options for sedation and the most common types include:
Nitrous oxide gas
This option keeps you relaxed during your procedure. You will remain aware of your surroundings, but your nervousness and pain is greatly reduced. Nitrous oxide gas is processed by the body quickly and do not linger beyond the time of the administration of the nitrous oxide gas.
A sedative taken orally an hour or so before your appointment can also be helpful. You’re drowsy, but conscious, during your appointment, and you will feel far less anxious. The drowsiness may last for several hours.
IV sedatives, also referred to as general anesthesia or sleep dentistry, can make you completely unconscious during your appointment. You will not be aware of the procedure and you will have no memory of it.
For routine dental cleanings and x-rays, sedation is usually not offered except in cases of extreme anxiety. Sedation can help you through more complicated dental procedures such as root canals, tooth extractions, and dental implants.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Before deciding on a sedation option, your dentist will take a comprehensive health history and check your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, and respiration) to ensure they are selecting the safest option for you.
Any IV sedation is administered by a dentist with advanced anesthesia and emergency training.
During our sedation appointments, we will always monitor blood oxygen level, blood pressure, and the pulse of our sedated patient.
Don’t ignore your oral health, we have options to make dental work more manageable for you.
Who Can Sedation Dentistry Help?
You and your dentist will need to decide if you are a candidate for sedation dentistry based on your medical history and your level of anxiety around dental work. You should make clear to your dentist if you’ve had any allergic or adverse reactions to anesthesia in the past so your dentist can make a safe decision about how to proceed.
Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients who are in reasonably good health and have:
- A high fear of dental procedures or needles
- Had a traumatic dental experience in the past
- A history of resistance to local anesthetic
- A very sensitive gag reflex
- Extremely sensitive teeth
- Complex dental problems
- A small mouth that is hard for a dentist to work on
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Certain special needs which will make dental work particularly difficult
If any of these issues apply to you, you should consider asking your dentist about sedation dentistry. Please keep in mind that patients with certain medical conditions or on certain medications may not be suitable candidates for sedation dentistry.
What are Some Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?
If you’ve been avoiding dental care, sedation dentistry can offer many benefits to you as a patient and to your dentist during the procedure because it:
- Lowers the anxiety you feel and keeps you relaxed during the procedure
- Promotes comfort and cooperation
- Gives the dentist more control of their movements
- Helps to control the gag reflex
- Saves you time by requiring fewer appointments needed
- Can be adapted to your specific case and sedation can last from 2-6 hours
How Sedation Dentistry Works
On the day of your sedation dentistry appointment, you may have some preparation depending on the type of sedation which has been recommended for you.
If you and your dentist have selected to use nitrous oxide, you have to do nothing prior to your appointment besides having a responsible person accompany you in case the dentist judges you are unable to drive. The dentistry will administer the nitrous oxide before, during, and after your procedure.
If you are taking an oral sedative your dentist will provide you with the necessary medication at the beginning of your appointment. You will need to present to your appointment without having consumed food or beverage. Ensure that you follow your dentist’s instructions carefully both before and after your appointment to ensure a successful visit. You may will require someone to drive you to and from your sedation dentistry appointment, and remain with you for 24 hours after the procedure.
You and your dentist may decide that you need IV sedation. You will have to discuss your medical history and any reactions to anesthesia in the past. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for a prescribed amount of time before your appointment. You most definitely need to bring a responsible person to drive you home afterward.
What’s the Difference Between Sedation Dentistry and Sleep Dentistry?
Your level of anxiety around dental procedures, the complexity of your dental work, and your medical history will determine if you will need sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but some dentists draw a definite distinction.
Sedation dentistry is when your dentist uses nitrous oxide or oral sedatives to make your procedure more comfortable and anxiety-free for you. You are conscious during the appointment.
If your dentist mentions sleep dentistry, they are likely referring to the use of general anesthesia which will make you unconscious during the procedure.
Sleep dentistry may be ideal for people with very high anxiety during dental procedures, or those patients who need complicated dental work, and people with certain special needs. It’s not the best solution for every patient and you will need to discuss side effects with your dentist.
Learn More About Your Treatment Options
If you want to discuss sedation dentistry, if it may be appropriate for you, to learn more about your treatment options, or to book an appointment contact Dr. Bains at Lewis Estates Dental Clinic.