Types of Sedation Dentistry

March 16, 2022

The importance of preventative care cannot be overstated. You can go to the doctor for annual physicals and bloodwork, but you're missing out on an important element of healthcare if you don't go to the dentist regularly.

In many cases, patients don't go to the dentist until there is a problem, because they don't have access to appropriate dental treatment.

To fix something that should have been simple at this point, sedation dentistry is often used.

Dental Sedation Terminology

A sedative is a medical term for any therapy that induces sleep in patients. The sedative techniques used in many specialties are frequently the same.

Some examples are general anesthesia, which keeps the patient awake and attentive, or severe sedation, in which the patient is completely asleep.

Why Is Sedation Needed?

Sedation is recommended by your dentist when you're having dental work done. There's a good reason for it. Every treatment does not necessitate the use of sedation. It is a safe and effective treatment as a pain-free alternative to discomfort or agony.

Without Sedatives, You Could Injure Yourself

It is tough for the dentist and perhaps dangerous for the patient if you don't have anesthesia. Your natural impulse is to jerk and pull away.

Sedation: The Basics

Your dentist will go through all of your alternatives for sedation dentistry with you. Many factors, such as your medical history and the dental procedures you will be having, affect how much sedation you need.

Sedation is only used when a topical anesthetic isn't strong enough, and dentists need to get more training to give it.

Unconscious Versus Conscious Sedation

The dread of sedation is mostly based on stories and myths that have been passed down through the generations. Let's take a look at the various causes for dental sedation and how each one might be used in specific situations.

Injecting Local Anesthesia

A local anesthetic is the first type of sedation that dentists consider. When a patient is dealing with dental issues including cavities, crown installation or modification, or root planing and scaling, this is often the treatment of choice.

It keeps you awake and alert using local anesthetics. Using it numbs the area that needs to be repaired. Numbness often lasts for 30 minutes to an hour after the injection.

Injectable or Topical Uses

This can either be administered to the gums as a gel or injected directly into the gums. It's time to begin the dental operations once you've been numb for a while.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia can help patients who need more powerful pain relief or who are nervous about their dental operation. This type of sedation dentistry allows the patient to be completely unaware of what is going on around them.

This sort of sedation is commonly recommended by dentists for treatments that last a long time or require a high degree of care. It's easier to do complicated dental work because the patient doesn't know what is going on.

This type of anesthesia is sometimes recommended by dentists for different reasons. General anesthetics can be useful if you are very afraid or have a medical condition that stops you from getting other types of anesthesia.

Types of General Anesthesia

A face mask or IV sedation is the most common method of administering general anesthesia by dentists with ample training and expertise. A steady flow of anesthesia is maintained throughout the treatment. When you nod off in the dental chair, you'll be breathing through a special tube.

It's common for general anesthesia to be used for things like dental extractions or the removal of wisdom teeth.

Is a General Anesthetic Right For You?

If you have a brain disorder or acid reflux, this form of sedation won't help you. As a precaution, let your dentist know if you've ever had a negative response to anesthesia in the past.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide, unlike IV mild sedation, is an inhaled method of minimal sedation. Laughing gas is another name for dental sedation, which is an option if you're nervous about the procedure or don't want to deal with an IV.

Oxygen and nitrous oxide are inhaled through a mask. A precise gas balance is maintained during the process to keep you unconscious. The dentist is aware of the symptoms and can increase the amount of laughing gas if you have a low pain threshold and the medicine wears off too soon.

The majority of patients don't even realize they've had the operation until it's finished. After inhaling the laughing gas, they may experience dizziness, fatigue, or even go into a coma. As soon as you stop inhaling the gas, which has lost its power, your alertness comes back.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedatives are a possibility if the operation does not require you to be asleep or if you are concerned about the outcome. With these drugs, you'll have moderate sedation for hours—long enough for the dentist to complete the full treatment.

Halcion, a tranquilizer similar to Valium, is commonly prescribed by dentists. You'll take your oral medication an hour before your procedure. You'll begin to feel drowsy and relaxed after a few minutes. You will, however, be able to answer questions and follow directions.

Moderate amounts of relaxation and pain reduction can be achieved with oral sedative medicine. Aside from root canals, oral conscious sedation is an excellent option for many dental procedures. In contrast, it doesn't wear off rapidly. After your dental surgery, you may require the assistance of a driver to return home.

IV Sedation

IV sedation is the only form of sedation that cannot be broken by any but the most vigorous of activities. IV sedation uses the same medications as an oral sedative. A mild dose of sedation won't work if you're afraid of the dentist or have a weak gag reflex and don't want to be awake.

After you fall asleep, the dentist will monitor your vital signs and alter your medicine if necessary. 

Inquire about Your Options and Make an Appointment

Do not let fear of sedation dentistry prevent you from having your dental health issues addressed. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to learn more about the many sedation options available to you.

Keep in mind that the level of sedation you require depends on a variety of circumstances, including your general health and the type of procedure you're having done. Instead of focusing on "worst-case scenario" scenarios, try focusing on the best-case scenario instead.

Bring a list of questions and concerns with you to your visit. 

Our Dentistry Procedures Are Safe and Approved

Do not worry; the FDA and ADA have both approved the use of nitrous oxide, oral sedation dentistry, and any other drugs administered during your procedure. Depending on your health, your treatment, and any insurance issues you may have, the type of care you receive may differ.

We are here to help you deal with your dental problems in a safe and comfortable way.

We're here to make sure your dental care is as pain-free and stress-free as possible. For anything from sedation dentistry to preventative care, book an appointment now.

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