Los Lunas

A visit to the dentist’s office is often linked to anxiety and fear, regardless of whether it is just a check-up or a lengthy procedure.

Visits can inspire lots of adverse feelings that will not easily disappear even with logical explanations. Thus, sedation dentistry is used to manage patient stress.  

Sedation dentistry sounds scary, but it is merely the usage of medication to help patients relax during procedures.

There are many different options for sedation based on what you think you require and what is medically recommended.  

When it comes to sedation options, you will need to make the necessary preparations and be aware of what care is needed afterward.

Some methods of sedation will require you to fast beforehand. Others may mean that you will not be allowed to drive yourself home. Therefore, you should plan to accommodate these situations.  

Read on for some sedation options and how they are administered. Arm yourself with this knowledge, and you can rest assured that you will be well cared for during your next trip to your dentist.

Laughing Gas

According to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a mild and safe sedative that helps patients, even children, remain calm and relaxed during dental procedures.

The administration method is through a mask that carries air mixed with the medication while you breathe normally through your nose.

Laughing gas is an easy and safe choice for anyone with dental anxiety, fears, and apprehension.  

It is also the least invasive method, only takes about five minutes to take effect, and wears off very quickly.

Remember that you should limit yourself to a small meal if you expect to need laughing gas for your dental appointment.

All other forms of sedation dentistry mentioned here will prevent you from driving yourself home for your safety.  

Oral Sedatives

Oral sedatives are taken through ingestion; that is, you swallow the medicine. Depending on the dosage given, this can be a minimal to moderate sedative.

Typically, you will become drowsy after taking the medication, though you may still be conscious throughout the procedure.

Some patients feel groggy enough to fall asleep, though they can be quickly woken up with a shake.

Medications may take 20 minutes up to an hour to take effect, depending on what is being administered.

Your dentist will advise you to not have anything to eat or drink starting from midnight the night before the appointment. 

Most dental anxieties and fears can be treated safely and effectively with oral sedatives or laughing gas.

Below are a few more options that are available, but to be safe, should require pre-approval from a physician and administered by dental anesthesiologists.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous or IV sedation is slightly scarier. The medication is injected into the blood through a vein, usually in the arm or hand.

Although this seems like the worst idea ever, it can be very advantageous too. Using IV sedation allows your dentist to control the amount of medication you get.

So, if you are undergoing a lengthy procedure, more sedation can be given to keep you calm. This is usually a moderate form of sedation that may make you slur your words and forget most of your treatment process.

Deep Sedation

In deep sedation, you will be kept on the edge of consciousness by the use of drugs. That said, you will likely be asleep but can be awakened as well.

Because deep sedation, as well as general anesthesia, are more complex, not all dentists can administer these techniques.

According to WebMD, only dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) can administer these more invasive types of sedation.

You should check with your physician before considering sedation techniques that can affect some people with pre-existing medical conditions.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a more potent form of deep sedation. You will be completely unconscious and cannot be awakened, even with strong stimulus.

That said, you will have to wait for the effects to wear off on their own. This option requires more careful monitoring and caution.

Be sure to talk to your physician first and then choose a reputable and qualified dentist for a procedure requiring this form of sedation.

Sedation dentistry involves putting a patient in a state of full relaxation or unconsciousness for the duration of a dental procedure.

It is widely used and has many benefits. One advantage is it helps assuage fears or concerns of people who have been hesitant to undergo various dental procedures.

Dental professionals use several different types of sedation. There is mild inhalation sedation which involves giving the patient nitrous oxide and oxygen to elicit a relaxed and sometimes drowsy effect.

On the other end of the scale, deep sedation involves general anesthesia and causes the patient to lose consciousness.

Your age, size, and any medical conditions are considered by your dentist when prescribing a suitable form of sedation for you.

Below are seven reasons why sedation dentistry could be the right choice for you.

Eliminates Anxiety and Fear

Many people put off going to the dentist's office even when they are experiencing severe toothaches or other oral diseases.

The reason for this hesitation can stem from a fear of medical procedures or a severe phobia for dental procedures.

Sedation helps in ridding the patient of anxiety by putting them in a calm and almost dream-like state or putting them to sleep completely.

It Is Best Used for Lengthy Procedures

Having to undergo a lengthy procedure in one appointment is a common reason for pushing dental appointments to the back burner.

Sedation dentistry should be considered as it puts you in a state where you do not feel any pain or pressure during the lengthy process.

Instead of scheduling several appointments, you can get all your procedures done in one appointment when you are sedated.

Promotes Comfort

Sitting still on a chair with your mouth open for an extended period is not the most comfortable position.

After a while, you would begin to feel some discomfort, especially in parts that are in contact with the chair.

Being sedated helps you to sit still during your treatment without feeling any side effects or discomfort.

Most people would be better receptive to treatment when they are not experiencing any undue discomfort.

Aids Efficiency

The dentist's work might be hindered by some natural responses to stimuli such as the gag reflex or closing the mouth in response to pain.

These actions can derail a procedure, thereby increasing the time and effort needed to complete the process.

Sedation impairs your body's natural reflexes and makes the dentist's job easier during treatment.

The procedure can, therefore, be completed in good time with fewer risks of complications.

Reduces the Perception of Pain

The pricking and prodding of sharp objects into the gums and teeth can cause a significant amount of pain, especially in people who have a low pain tolerance.

Patients with sensitive teeth and gums can suffer a higher level of discomfort than usual. Sedation dentistry helps to dull the patient's perception of pain or removes the sensation of discomfort altogether.

Helps in Immobilization

Sedation is an excellent way to ensure adequate immobility, which is needed for the success of the dental procedure.

It is beneficial for those who find it challenging to sit still, have a disability, and for children who might get frightened or unsettled by the equipment or the treatment process itself.

Improves the Overall Experience

Sitting with the mouth open while staring at the ceiling or the dentist's face can become awkward or uncomfortable after a while.

Some patients might also wish to have no memory of the procedure as it might affect them negatively in the future.

Opting for dentistry sedation is a good choice as it makes the time pass faster, making a lengthy procedure feel like a 30-minute process.

Deep sedation prevents the patient from having any memories of the operation, thereby reducing the risk of negative impacts on the patient's health and wellbeing.

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