Removing Pain and Anxiety with Sedation Dentistry
Dentists conduct most dental procedures under local anesthesia to numb the affected area. However, a patient’s comfort during a dental procedure depends on more than the physical pain. Dentists also consider the emotional aspect since many patients experience anxiety and nervousness during treatment. For some people, the anxiety that comes with dental treatment is so severe that they prefer abandoning dental treatment.
Instead of administering general anesthesia for nervous patients, oral sedation is a safer approach. Oral sedation places a patient in a relaxed, comfortable, semi-awake state. Sedation relieves patients of their anxiety but still leaves them awake to respond to a dentist’s oral instructions. When dentists combine oral sedation with local anesthesia, patients experience minor, if any, discomfort.
After sedation, a patient requires close monitoring. However, a patient will not require assistance in maintaining their heart function or breathing. The dentist will adjust the sedation medication to ensure that you do not experience significant side effects. However, you still require someone to accompany you to the dental office because sedation effects might not wear off immediately after the dental procedure.
Types of Dental Sedation
There are four main types of dental sedation:
- Inhaled minimal sedation
- Oral sedation
- IV moderate sedation
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia
Minimal inhaled dental sedation entails inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas combined with oxygen. The dentist places a mask over a patient’s face. The gas helps a patient relax, and the dentist can regulate the ideal sedation’s gas levels. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off fast, and you can function normally after a dental procedure.
Oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate, depending on the dose of medication administered. For oral sedation, a patient takes a pill before the procedure, making them drowsy but they remain awake. For moderate sedation, a patient may take a large dose of the pill.
IV moderate sedation entails introducing the sedation medication through the vein, directly to the bloodstream. The effects of IV sedation are faster.
For deep sedation or general anesthesia, dentists use medications that make a patient almost unconscious. In some cases, a patient may be fully unconscious and unaware of the dental procedure. You will not be fully awake until the effects of anesthesia wear off or when the dentist reverses the procedure.
If the thought of visiting a dentist or undergoing a dental procedure makes you uneasy, you are not alone. At Better Dental, we employ the best dental sedation procedures to enhance the comfort of our patients.