What is Sedation Dentistry?
A lot of people may experience some form of anxiety when they are about to have dental work done. Some also getting anxious from visiting the dentist in general. This is known as dental phobia. This phobia may prevent people from seeking dental care resulting in poor dental health. One way we help our patients with dental phobia is by utilizing sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients receive a relaxing experience while undergoing treatment. There are multiple options in regards to sedation dentistry that are used based on the type of procedure and other factors.
Am I a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
If you are nervous about seeing the dentist, you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Our varying levels of sedation meet the ranging needs of our patients. The sedatives and methods used are customized to each situation. Some of the reasons people choose to include sedation in their dental visits include fear of the dentist, fear that dental treatment will hurt, an aversion to having someone “in their face,” fear of needles, past trauma, muscle or cognitive condition that makes it difficult to sit still, and a desire to have multiple procedures performed in one visit.
Sedation Dentistry Benefits
Sedation Dentistry assists patients when undergoing complicated and long procedures. This can help patients feel as though their procedure only lasted a few minutes. Sedation dentistry can also help those who
- Have a low pain tolerance
- Cannot stay still
- Have sensitive teeth
- Have a bad gag reflex
- Need a lot of dental work
Dental Sedation Options
There are a variety of dental sedation options that can help patients achieve an optimal state of relaxation. Some of these options include:
This is the most common type of sedation used in the dental office. This allows patients to remain awake and respond to Dr. Holbrook but still stay relaxed. Most patients will not remember the majority of the procedure.
Our office also offers deep sedation for patients that have higher levels of anxiety. Deep sedation results in a state between conscious sedation and unconsciousness.
Occasionally, general anesthesia is necessary in oral surgery cases. General anesthesia does have it’s own risks associated with it.
How is dental sedation administered?
The three common ways to administer dental sedation include:
- Inhalation sedation, which is breathed through a small mask that fits over the nose. This is also known as nitrous oxide sedation.
- Oral conscious sedation is a pill or liquid that is taken by mouth sometime before the dental treatment is performed.
- IV sedation is administered at the beginning of the procedure. This deeper sedation is administered continuously via an IV inserted into a vein in the arm.
Will I feel any pain with dental sedation?
No. Sedation is used in conjunction with the local anesthetic that is the norm for dental procedures. The effects of the sedative can enhance the pain-relieving effects of that anesthetic. Before administering the local injection, the dental technician or dentist may apply a numbing gel to desensitize the gums, as well. Our techniques are performed with care to maximum comfort for each of our patients.
Can I drive myself home after dental sedation?
You may be able to drive yourself home after your appointment depending on the type of sedation you receive. Inhaled sedation, nitrous oxide, leaves the system within a few minutes, allowing patients to go about their day as usual. Oral conscious sedation and IV sedation take longer to wear off. Patients are released to a loved one once they are alert after their procedure. The person should take the patient directly home and stay with them for at least a few hours, depending on the strength of the sedative received.
How long does oral sedation take to wear off?
Oral conscious sedation can take several hours to fully wear off. Until the effects are completely gone, you should not drive or perform important activities. Rest is the best thing for coming out of sedation, even once you are feeling relatively alert. This is because your senses and reactivity may still be reduced from their norm.
Sedation Dentistry Risks
While most sedation dentistry risks are low, some minor side effects may occur such as:
- Drowsiness (post-procedure)
It is important to discuss the risks of sedation with Dr. Holbrook before any dental procedure.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to manage dental anxiety and other conditions that may otherwise prevent a person from receiving necessary care. We are proud to offer this service in a comfortable, friendly environment.
What should I expect during my sedation dentistry appointment?
Sedation is usually arranged before the appointment at which it will be used. Dr. Holbrook or a member of our staff discusses the types of sedation that are available and which are most appropriate based on the circumstances. Depending on the sedation method that is selected, you may take a pill before you arrive for your appointment. Some methods, like deeper sedation, may be administered once you arrive.
What you can expect during your sedation dentistry appointment is to feel comfortable throughout your procedure. You are in caring hands that are committed to the best possible dental experience.