Sedation dentistry allows the dentist to work efficiently with the patient to receive necessary dental care.
Benefits of Visiting a Sedation Dentist
There are many reasons why a patient would benefit from sedation dentistry.
- Sleep dentistry allows people who are afraid to go to the dentist due to dental phobia or fear the opportunity to receive dental care. According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist out of fear. For these patients, sedation dentistry is the only way they can receive dental care.
- Patients with a low pain threshold undergoing a very painful procedure like having teeth pulled would benefit from sedation.
- Those who cannot sit still in the dentist chair, such as small children or adults who cannot control their muscles will need sedation.
- Those with sensitive teeth and people who have a bad gag reflex.
- Patients who require a large amount of dental work will benefit from sedation dentistry by accomplishing more procedures in fewer sittings.
Summing it up: these sedatives can provide such benefits as relaxing the patient, raising the pain threshold, ease of an operation and increased cooperation from the patient. Patients also remember little to none of the treatment and can require fewer appointments, saving time and money. The different conditions sedation is used to determine what level of sedation is necessary.
Generally, sedation is minimal, intended to reduce anxiety while allowing the patient to respond to the dentists’ instructions. Depending on the severity of a patient’s fear or pain threshold, higher levels may be used. During minimal sedation, the patient is awake but relaxed, fully conscious and aware. During moderate sedation, a patient may not remember much but is responsive to dentists’ instructions. This is the most common practice, and the reason “sleep dentistry” is a frequently misused term.
During deep sedation a patient is placed at the brink of consciousness, but able to be quickly woken. Sometimes sedation dentistry is called sleep dentistry. This is sedation dentistry at its highest level. By using a general anesthesia that renders the patient unconscious, large amounts of work can be accomplished without a patient suffering through it. Most sedation dentistry requires a level of consciousness for safety and cooperation. The better the control the dentist has oversedation, the easier the procedure is.
Different methods of sedation can include nitrous oxide, oral pills, or an I.V.
- The most common method used is nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas”, taken through an oxygen mask. This allows the dentist to control how aware a patient is, wears off quickly and leaves the patient alert as if having a short nap after the procedure is complete.
- The most common pill given is Halcion, which is a drug prescribed primarily for light insomnia. It has a fast onset and lasts only a short time, about one to two hours, ideal for a dental session.
- IV’s (intravenous) are normally used in moderate sedation as they work quickly and can be monitored by the dentist to control how sedated a patient is.
As well as these sedation methods, a local anesthetic is typically used, numbing the site the dentist is working on. If you have any questions about this procedure, don’t hesitate to speak to your dentist.