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Types of Sedation Dentistry

by baylydev
March 28, 2022

Preventative care is an important component of overall wellness. You can go to the doctor for physicals and annual blood tests, but if you don't get regular dental checkups, you're missing out on an important aspect of healthcare.

Many patients do not visit the dentist until they have a problem because they do not have quality dental care monitoring their oral health.

By that point, what could have been a simple fix has become more complicated and frequently necessitates sedation dentistry to repair.

Defining the Terms in Sedation Dentistry

Sedation is a medical term that refers to any method of treatment that helps patients relax. Sedation techniques in each field are typically similar.

They can range from general anesthesia to minimal sedation, which keeps the patient awake and alert, to deep sedation, which renders the patient completely unconscious.

Why Sedation is Necessary

If your dentist recommends sedation as part of your dental treatment, there's a reason for it. Sedation is not used for every procedure. It's a safe and effective way to get through something that would otherwise cause discomfort or pain.

Without Sedatives, You Could Injure Yourself

Without sedation, your natural instincts are to jerk and pull away, making the dentist's job more difficult and possibly causing you harm.

The Basics of Sedation

There are several types of sedation dentistry available, and your dentist will go over them with you. The level of sedation required is determined by a variety of factors, including your medical history and the dental procedures you are about to undergo.

Dentists must undergo additional training to provide sedation, and it is only used when a topical anesthetic is insufficient.

Unconscious Versus Conscious Sedation

The majority of people's apprehension about sedation stems from stories and myths. Let's go over the various reasons for dental sedation and when each type is appropriate.

Local Anesthesia

A local anesthetic is the first level of sedation that dentists consider. This is typically used when patients have dental issues as a result of things like cavities, crown placement or adjustment, and root planing and scaling.

Local anesthesia allows you to remain conscious and alert. It numbs the area that needs to be worked on. The numbness usually lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.

Topical or Injectable Applications

This is administered as a topical gel rubbed on the gums or as an injection into the gum area. When you feel numb, it's time to begin the dental procedures on your schedule.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia can help when stronger pain control is required or a patient has dental anxiety about the procedure. The patient is completely relaxed and unconscious during this method of sedation dentistry.

Dentists frequently recommend this type of sedation for lengthy procedures and dental work that requires precision. Complex dental treatments are easier to perform because the patient is completely unconscious throughout the procedure.

Your dentist may also recommend this type of sedation for other reasons. For example, if your anxiety is so severe that you can't sit still for a cavity sealant, or if you have a medical condition that prevents you from using other sedation methods, general anesthetics can help.

Types of General Anesthesia

The majority of types of general anesthesia are administered by experienced dentists via IV sedation or a face mask. Throughout the procedure, the anesthetic is steadily controlled. When you fall asleep, you will relax in the dental chair and breathe through a special tube.

For procedures such as wisdom tooth removal or tooth extraction, general anesthesia is frequently recommended.

Is a General Anesthetic Right For You?

This type of sedation, however, is not appropriate for people who have neurological issues, acid reflux, or organ diseases. If you have previously had an allergic reaction to an anesthetic, inform your dentist so that your sedation can be adjusted accordingly.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous oxide, as opposed to IV moderate sedation, is an inhaled minimal sedation technique. If your anxiety is high or you don't want to deal with an IV, this dental sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a quick fix.

Inhale oxygen mixed with nitrous oxide through a mask. The balance of the gases is maintained throughout the procedure to ensure that you remain unconscious. If you have a low pain threshold and the medication wears off too quickly, the dentist will be aware and will increase the laughing gas.

Most patients are unaware they have had the procedure until it is completed. They may feel sleepy or lose consciousness immediately after inhaling the laughing gas. When you stop inhaling it, the gas loses its potency and you become alert again.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedatives are an option if the procedure does not require you to be unconscious or if you are anxious about it. With these drugs, you'll be sedated for several hours, long enough for the dentist to complete the entire treatment.

The majority of dentists use Halcion, a Valium-like medication. An hour before your procedure, you will take your oral medication. Within that time, you'll feel completely relaxed and drowsy. You will, however, be able to respond to instructions and questions.

Oral sedative medication provides moderate relaxation and pain relief. This makes oral conscious sedation an excellent choice for a wide range of dental procedures, including root canals. However, unlike laughing gas, it does not wear off quickly. After the dental procedure, you may require the assistance of another person to drive you home.

IV Sedation

IV application is the only type of sedation that can put you into deep sedation that all but the most aggressive actions can't break. The IV drip contains the same drugs as the oral sedation. However, if you want to be unconscious to avoid dental anxiety or if you have a weak gag reflex, moderate sedation is insufficient.

After you've fallen asleep, the dentist will monitor your vital signs and adjust your medication as needed.

Make an Appointment to Talk About Your Options

Don't let your fear of sedation dentistry prevent you from getting your dental health issues addressed. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss the various sedation options available to you.

Remember that whether you require moderate oral sedation, deep sedation, or something else is determined by a number of factors. You might be putting "worst-case scenario" options in your head when they aren't necessary.

Feel free to bring a list of questions and concerns to your appointment. Several other patients have!

Our Dentistry Procedures Are Safe and Approved

The American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration have both approved nitrous oxide, oral sedation dentistry, and any medication you may be given. The type you'll get will be tailored to your health, procedure, and any insurance concerns.

We want to help you handle your dental needs as safely and comfortably as possible.

Our goal is to assist you in meeting your dental needs as safely and comfortably as possible. Make an appointment today for sedation dentistry, preventative care, and everything in between!

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