Sedation Dentistry – What Is It?

Sedation dentistry is a type of dental care that uses sedatives to help patients relax. Dentists have used this type of treatment since the 1940s.

In fact, it was used extensively to help soldiers relax while having their teeth pulled. But since then, it has gained popularity among some dentists as an alternative to general anesthesia, which is used in most surgeries today.

Dentists use sedation dentistry on patients who need emergency or routine procedures.

The benefits of using this type of dental care are that patients can tolerate the procedure better than if they were under general anesthesia. Some patients also express they’re more comfortable throughout the process.

What Are The Options Available For Sedation?

There are various levels of sedation that you need to be aware of. Under mild sedation, a person is responsive but relaxed. Moderate sedation means a person is conscious but not aware of their process. Deep sedation means a person is on the verge of losing consciousness but doesn’t.

Sedation Dentistry

1.   Inhaled – Mild Sedation

Inhaled sedation is a highly used alternative in the process of dentistry. It is simple, and recovery is quick, so several patients prefer it.

The main component in this is nitrous oxide or laughing gas which the patient breathes in. It is administered through a mask that’s placed on your nose.

This gas helps people relax and builds tolerance towards pain. The dentist can control the amount of gas directly proportional to the amount of sedation.

It is the only sedation method where you can still drive by yourself at the end of your procedure. Because this is convenient, many people opt for this at a dentist.

2.   Oral Sedation – Mild/Moderate Sedation

Oral sedation is one of the more popular sedation methods for patients. It’s an excellent way to provide patients with a relaxing, pleasant experience.

While it’s less expensive than IV sedation, it’s also safer, faster, and more effective. And it has none of the hassles involved with injecting anything into the bloodstream.

Because of these reasons, people prefer this over other methods. The process involves taking a sedation pill an hour before the procedure.

The pill administered would be a type of benzodiazepine. Most commonly, this is Halcion and, in some cases, Valium or Xanax. These are known to slow down activity in certain parts of the brain.

It results in a relaxed and calm feeling which lets the dentist be more effective with their procedure. The patient is also awake throughout the procedure, which is preferable.

3.   IV – Moderate Sedation

IV sedation has been around for a long time and was the preferred method earlier. Even though more modern methods are available now, some people still prefer IV.

This type of sedation is preferred for longer surgical procedures. It is a lot more predictable than other methods of sedation. It is much less complicated than other methods and works well too.

It also works much quicker than oral sedatives, which means less time spent at the clinic. Unfortunately, this means more waiting around. Sometimes with oral sedation, they might not achieve the right level of sedation.

IV sedatives are more expensive than other methods like oral sedation. If a patient is uncomfortable with needles, they might not want to opt for IVs. But sometimes, there is just no alternative, and you need to go with IV sedation.

4.   General Anesthetic – Deep Sedation

Deep sedation can cause a person to fall asleep during dental treatment. This makes the procedure a bit more comfortable for both dentist and patient.

This type of sedation is useful when the patient needs to be put under for a long period. For example, if they are going to have a root canal treatment.

If the dentist uses deep sedation, normally, they will use a combination of sedatives to knock out the patient. This is followed by pain relievers to minimize discomfort during the procedure.

The risk here is that general anesthetic is not easy to administer. It can cause serious side effects. Dentists need a lot of experience and skill to choose the right type of anesthetic for patients.

Other Things That Can Help

There are also a few other things that patients can do to ensure a great experience at their dental clinic.

Relaxation Techniques

The patient can follow a few techniques that can put their mind and body at ease. Try to calm your mind and think pleasant thoughts. Always remember the dentist aims to take your pain away, not give you more.

Hypnosis Or Counseling

If a person is really scared of the dentist, getting some counseling beforehand is not unheard of. It helps to talk to a professional who understands what you’re going through before the procedure.

Having Someone Close Present

The best option for a person who’s averse to the dental clinic is to get someone close to go with them. They can give you company and keep you from thinking negative thoughts. To know more about oral sedation please refer here.