Sedation Dentistry Services
OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, SEDATION DENTISTRY HAS DEVELOPED TO ENSURE THAT PATIENTS HAVE A CALM AND COMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE DURING DENTAL PROCEDURES. While almost any patient can benefit from sedation dentistry, patients with dental fears or anxieties particularly appreciate its many benefits.
As opposed to anesthesia, sedation dentistry is primarily designed for relaxation and anxiety reduction, not as a painkiller. However, local anesthetic is often administered alongside dental sedation to numb any pain. Sedation dentistry ranges in types, levels, and dosages depending on the patient’s current health conditions, medical background, and reason for needing dental sedation. A general overview of the levels and types of dental sedation follows:
Types Of Sedation Used In Sedation Dentistry
Minimal, or light dental sedation provides increased relaxation while the patient remains alert, awake, and able to respond to verbal commands. According to the American Dental Association’s Guidelines for the Use of Sedation, minimal sedation can be administered in pill form, but the dosage cannot exceed the maximum FDA-recommended dose of a drug for unmonitored home use. Another common form of light dental sedation is nitrous oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas.’ Nitrous oxide flows through a nose mask, creating a pain-numbing effect, with minimal anxiety reduction.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Based on your previous medical background, anxiety level, and procedure type, your sedation dentist will prescribe a type of sedation medication (in pill form) for you to take prior to your appointment. By the time the procedure starts, you should feel relaxed, calm, and slightly groggy. Oral conscious sedation ensures that you remain conscious throughout the entire procedure; some patients fall asleep, but can be woken up easily. Oral sedation has proven to be safe for thousands of patients because you can still breathe independently, respond to verbal commands, and operate protective reflexes (such as coughing to clear your airway). Despite being conscious, most patients experience an amnesia-like effect, with little to no remembrance of their dental appointment afterward.
IV sedation (intravenous sedation) produces results similar to oral conscious sedation, however the sedation medication is fed intravenously into the arm or hand instead of orally through a pill. IV sedation works best for patients without a fear of needles. Because IV sedation is administered in the office during the patient’s appointment, it is best used for shorter dental procedures.
Deep sedation is not generally categorized under sedation dentistry, but it is occasionally used for specific cases. Unlike oral conscious sedation, the patient is semi or totally unconscious during deep sedation. Recovery time is generally longer and the patient may need assistance breathing.
Sedation dentistry should not be confused with general anesthesia, which is primarily used to numb pain for large cases or surgeries. General anesthesia can render a patient unconscious, necessitate breathing assistance, and disable protective reflexes. General anesthesia has been successfully used in many cases, but it requires an anesthesiologist who carefully monitors the dosage of medication and the patient’s vital signs.
Positive Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry
Temporary Amnesia: Many of the medications used in sedation dentistry create a temporary amnesia-like effect so that you will remember little to nothing of your dental visit!
Reduced Post-Operative Soreness: According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, fear and anxiety release chemicals in your brain that create muscle tension—leading to post-operative soreness. Sedation dentistry eliminates fear and anxiety, leading to more relaxed muscles and less post-operative soreness.
Dry Mouth: Dental sedatives decrease salivary flow, which allows the sedation dentist to work more effectively in the dryer mouth environment.
Find A Crown Council Sedation Dentist Near You
To learn more about how sedation dentistry can help you have more relaxed, anxiety-free dental visits or to learn more about specific types of dental sedation such as conscious sedation or IV sedation, find and contact a Crown Council member sedation dentist in your area today.