Does the thought of going to the dentist frighten you? Do you avoid dental visits for fear that you’ll discover just how much (potentially painful) work your teeth need? You’re not alone.
Many dental offices accommodate reluctant patients and ease their worries by offering Sedation Dentistry. Sometimes referred to as sleep, relaxation and anxiety-free dentistry, Sedation Dentistry is the use of medication and other anxiety and pain relievers to help promote a more comfortable experience at the dentist. And its popularity is rapidly growing.
Who’s a fit for Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation Dentistry may be a fit for you if you meet the following criteria. However, be sure to consult with a dentist trained in this procedure to be sure that it’s appropriate for you.
- You’re scared of going to the dentist
- You need a lot of dental work
- You have a low threshold for pain
- You are unable to sit for long periods
- You have a bad gag reflex
- You have sensitive teeth
What levels of sedation are available?
1. Minimal: You’re awake yet relaxed and able to ask questions, although according to the American Dental Association(ADA), you may experience a decrease in your ability to think and coordinate your movements while this level of sedation’s in place. The dentist will administer a sedative drug and may combine it with a combination of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen. Used in dentistry for nearly 100 years, the gas mixture mentioned is a great and safe pain reliever.
2. Moderate/conscious sedation: You’re awake, profoundly relaxed yet still communicative.
The dentist will administer medication in pill form to swallow whole or dissolve under the tongue an hour before procedure. You may also take a pill at home right before leaving for the dental office. You may be given nitrous oxide via nasal cap. Plus, the relaxing and sometimes euphoric effects wear off quickly.
3. Deep: You’re not awake, but you can still respond to painful or repeated stimulation, according to the Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesiologists.
General anesthesia is given intravenously (IV). You are completely unconscious. Machines monitor breathing, heart rate, etc. Even with sedation, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. The ADA states that you will receive a physical assessment, pre-procedure instructions and dietary restrictions based on the sedative/anesthetic method used.
Can all dental professionals provide sedation to their patients?
Dentists, periodontists and oral surgeons must be trained and certified in IV use. The use of sedation techniques is regulated by each state’s dental board and some require the dentist hold a permit or certification.
Considering sedation? Start a conversation with your dentist and get the facts.
- Discuss your medical history and current medications
- Inquire about his or her training, number of sedations and certification
- Ask for a list that outlines the risks and go over it with your dentist
- Don’t hesitate to ask any questions if any anything is unclear
Sedation Dentistry may remove the barrier of anxiety and enable people to receive proper oral care. The best way to find out if sedation dentistry is a good option for you is to contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.
This post is a featured article from Dr. Jordan Beyea at Creative Smiles Family & Cosmetic dentistry located in Gilbert Arizona.