Some people dread or fear going to the dentist. They are gripped with fear and a chill runs down their spine with just the thought of getting their teeth cleaned. In the past, people just endured their dental problems if it means not going to the dentist. Today, sedation dentistry is a viable option for people who suffer from anxiety or phobia of the dentist.
Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedatives to induce a state of calm while undergoing dental procedures. Although it is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”, patients are actually awake but may feel sleepy and groggy and will likely not remember anything while under the sedative. The sedatives are used in conjunction with a local anesthesia in the area that will be operated on.
Aside from easing the fear and apprehension of the patient, sedation dentistry also offers a few other benefits. Since the patient is not fully conscious and does not feel pain or fear, it allows for more procedures to be done in one session instead of doing them over a course of several visits. Since the patient is relaxed, the gag reflex is inhibited so those with bad gag reflexes usually opt to undergo sedation when undergoing dental procedures. With sedatives, the anesthetic is more effective. The patient will also experience less muscle and joint soreness after the operation. More importantly, the patient’s overall dental health is expected to improve because visits to the dentists for regular checkups and procedures will not be as bad anymore. Sedation dentistry will somehow decrease the fear itself of and the patient will hopefully not wait anymore until a big problem arises before consulting the dentist.
Degrees of Dental Sedation
- Minimal/mild sedation – Also known as anxiolysis, the patient is awake and relaxed because anxiety is suppressed.
- Moderate sedation – A patient under moderate sedation is awake but groggy and not fully conscious of the things that are happening. Reflexes are retained, and the patient is able to breathe independently as well as respond to verbal and physical stimulation. However, he will most likely not remember anything about the time he was under. This level was used to be called “conscious sedation”.
- Deep sedation – Under deep sedation, the patient is in the midst of being conscious and unconscious and may or may not be able to breathe independently.
- Unconscious – General anesthesia is used for a person to be totally unconscious, usually for oral surgery. This level of sedation is not considered as a level of sedation dentistry anymore. This is actually administered to patients who cannot undergo sedation dentistry.
Types of Dental Sedation:
- Nitrous oxide sedation – Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas”, is inhaled through a mask to help the patient relax by suppressing anxiety.
- Oral sedation – Oral sedatives come in the form of pills. They are used to induce mild to moderate sedation and are taken by the patient prior to getting the procedure done. After taking the pill, the patient will need to be driven to the dentist and accompanied afterward as well.
- Intravenous sedation – With intravenous sedation, the sedative is administered by injecting it into the patient’s vein.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia – These are administered intravenously as well.
If you are interested in keeping your visits to our dentists an anxiety-free experience, you should inquire about sedation industry with us.