One of the most common reasons people avoid going to the dentist is because of an intense fear of the dentist or dental procedures. Unfortunately, this phobia prevents patients from getting the dental care they need. Sedation dentistry helps to ease those fears and welcome patients into the office for the treatment they need.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to aid in relaxation for patients. Often referred to as sleep dentistry, sedation dentistry actually keeps patients awake but relaxed.
What are the levels of sedation?
There are four levels of sedation dentistry. The first level is minimal sedation, where you’re awake but relaxed. Moderate sedation is where you’re awake, but unlikely to remember much of the procedure. Deep sedation keeps you conscious and you’re easily awakened when prompted and general anesthesia renders you totally unconscious.
Are there different sedation types used in sedation dentistry?
Yes. Sedation dentistry relies on four different types of sedation methods to make you comfortable.
Inhaled minimal sedation, also known as laughing gas, is used for patients who just want some relaxation and need to be able to drive themselves home after the procedure. The dentist can very easily control the amount of sedation you’re receiving.
Oral sedation is administered by giving people a pill, such as Valium. The doctor will instruct you on when to take the pill before the procedure. This is one of the most common sedation methods used because patients fall asleep, but can easily be awoken with a quick shake. Because it takes a while to wear off you will need someone to take you home.
IV moderate sedation is used by dentists who need to regularly adjust your levels of sedation. It is administered through an IV inserted into your vein.
Finally, deep sedation and general anesthesia are used to put patients into a deep sleep during a procedure. Patients don’t typically wake up until the medication totally wears off.
Who needs sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is best suited for patients who have a moderate to severe fear of the dentist. It’s ideal for those who won’t come to the dentist unless they’re sedated because their fear keeps them from it.
Additionally, patients with very sensitive teeth or a bad gag reflex will also benefit from sedation dentistry as they won’t respond to the stimuli of any dental procedures. Sedation dentistry also works well for patients with a low threshold for pain and those who are having an extensive amount of work performed at once.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
Sedation dentistry is safe, however, like any anesthesia, there are risks associated with it. Dr. Planes will evaluate if you’re a good candidate for sedation dentistry, however, if you have heart issues, are overweight, or have sleep apnea you probably shouldn’t undergo sedation dentistry.
When discussing options with Dr. Planes be sure to be as honest as possible. Talk about any concerns you might have and answer all questions the dentist asks. This will ensure you’re well taken care of.