A Comprehensive Guide to Sedation Dentistry

A Comprehensive Guide to Sedation Dentistry

Apr 01, 2021

If you’re among the 50% of individuals who care about their dental health but fear going to the dentist, don’t worry about it, your dentist has several options to help you. Thanks to the increasing innovation in the dental industry, patients no longer have to undergo a painful experience in the dentist’s office.

Pain-free dental procedures are now available through sedation dentistry, which is also known as sleep dentistry. Sedation dentistry involves using medicine to prevent pain and reduce anxiety and discomfort during a dental procedure. Sedatives can be administered through pills, inhaled medications, or intravenously.

When you visit your dentist, they will examine your condition and determine the best type of sedatives to give.

Sedatives are categorized in the following four levels:

  • Minimal Sedation – Mostly administered for a less risky procedure such as simple tooth extraction. You’ll be awake and relaxed during the procedure.
  • Moderate Sedation – Previously known as conscious sedation, moderate sedation is given for mild dental procedures. You’ll be awake and probably slur some words.
  • Deep Sedation – Mostly administered for more serious dental procedures. You’ll be awake but on the edge of consciousness.
  • General Anesthesia – It’s the most serious type of sedation. You’ll be completely unconscious.

Patients will be awake on all types of sedation except for general anesthesia.

Types of Dental Sedation

  1. Inhaled minimal sedation

It’s the most commonly used type of sedation. For this sedation, you will breathe in laughing gas. The dentist will administer it through a mask placed over your nose.

It’s considered low-risk, and you’ll be awake. It’s used to reduce discomfort for minor dental procedures such as tooth extractions. This treatment tends to wear out quite quickly, so most patients are cleared to return to their normal activities after the procedure.

  1. Oral sedation

Oral sedation dentistry feels heavier than inhaled sedation. In some instances, the dentist will administer oral sedation with laughing gas. For oral sedation, your dentist will give you a sedative to swallow, either in liquid or pill form.

  1. Intravenous IV sedation

IV sedation is delivered through a vein directly into your bloodstream by the use of a needle. This sedation takes effect very quickly and can only be offered by IV sedation-trained and approved dentists. It’s often used for lengthy and more serious dental procedures such as surgery.

  1. General anesthesia

This sedation type is only offered during serious surgical procedures such as jaw or wisdom teeth extraction surgery. It’s either delivered to your bloodstream via a needle or inhalation.

When under general anesthesia, you’ll be completely unconscious. You’ll also have to take a few minutes to recover before you are allowed to go home.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If you’re not sure why your dentist may need to administer a sedative during a dental procedure, here are a few reasons why:

  • It reduces fear and anxiety. Since dental procedures involve the dentist working in your mouth, it can cause fear and anxiety. Sedation ensures a comfortable and pain-free procedure.
  • It makes it easier to provide treatment. When relaxed, the dentist can provide treatment more easily and quickly.
  • It allows you to rest calmly during treatment.

Who is Eligible for Sedation?

While sedation gives you the courage to undergo a dental procedure, not every form of sedation is right for you. Some drugs may cause harmful effects on your body, such as affecting the airways, blood pressure, and much more.

For this reason, the dentist may ask you a few questions about your medical history. Feel free to tell your dentist if you’re not comfortable with certain forms of sedation.

Many people are reluctant about sedatives that are given through needles. In such a case, the dentist can use oral sedation or a combination of sedatives to reduce discomfort.

Discuss Your Sedation Options

With sedation dentistry available, you shouldn’t worry about your dental treatments. Sedation allows for pain-free, comfortable, and relaxed dental examinations and treatments. If you need further clarification on sedation or have a dental problem, please call Mid-Island Dental Associates to schedule an appointment.

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