Fear of visiting a dentist is quite common. There are many more people who would prefer bearing the discomfort of a cavity or infection rather than visiting the dentist for the treatment. The mere thought of a man/woman holding multiple tools in hand and asking you to open your mouth is enough to give you chills. With technological advancements and sedation dentistry, it is now possible to soothe your anxiousness. With sedation dentistry, it is now possible to be at ease when in the dental chair!
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to dental procedures where the person is sedated using various methods to ensure pain-free and faster dental procedures. There are four levels of sedation:
Minimal sedation: In this stage you are awake but very calm.
Moderate sedation: In this stage you may slur and not remember the dentistry procedures.
Deep sedation: In this stage you are on the verge of cognizance.
General anesthesia: In this stage you are completely unconscious.
Types of sedation dentistry
Oral sedation Oral sedation involves administering an oral sedative pill which reduces anxiety. The most common substances used for oral sedation are diazepam (Valium), triazolam, zaleplon, lorazepam, hydroxyzine and midazolam. The first three drugs keep the patient relaxed for a few hours, so they are used when the procedure is longer and more complicated. Usually, these drugs are taken an hour before the procedure. Midazolam is effective for about one hour, making it more suitable for short-term procedures. All the substances mentioned above may (but not necessarily) induce sleep. The oral sedation is preferred by most patients because it does not involve needless, is easy to administrate and has an amnesic effect (which means that the patient will not remember the entire dental procedure). Another advantage of oral sedation is that it is extremely affordable compared to the other sedation options available. The only disadvantage is the fact that the oral sedation cannot be reversed; thus, the patient needs someone to take them home after the procedure.
Nitrous sedation Also known as “laughing gas”, the nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen and administered through a mask put on the patient’s face. The inhaled gas helps the patient relax while remaining co-operative. Also, there are high chances that the patient will not remember too much of the procedure, once the sedation wears off. Depending on the procedure’s length and difficulty, the dentist decides the exposure time.
Nitrous sedation is optimal for mild to moderate anxieties. It wears off quickly, so the patient can resume their quotidian activities shortly after the procedure. The only downsize of this type of sedation is the fact that it is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with asthma or respiratory problems. IV sedation IV (intravenous) sedation is recommended exclusively for patients with high anxiety or exaggerated gag reflex. The sedation substance injected into the vein helps the patient relax and become unaware of the smells, sounds and procedures performed in the office. In fact, little to nothing will be remembered after the procedure. The patient will, however, be responsive to dentist’s requirements and will be able to perform small tasks. During the procedure, the dentist will monitor the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and pulse to make sure the patient’s status is good.
The IV sedation requires special preparation. The patient should not eat or drink anything 8 hours before the procedure and should provide an exhaustive list of drugs used and health conditions or illness that the patient has. Also, post-procedure, the patient needs to have someone to take them home and take the rest of the day off. Dental anxiety should not prevent anyone from having a perfect smile. Contact us to know more about the sedation dentistry and how can it be used to make your dental treatments easier and comfortable.