Sedation Dentistry Basics, Its Candidates, and Its Advantages

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Many patients find their dental appointments are made easier with the sedation dentistry. This practice allows patients to relax during their time in the dentist’s chair. Its effects range from mild relaxation to complete sleep. Take a look at the specifics for each type of sedation below.

  • Minimal sedation leaves patients relaxed, but still awake
  • Moderate or conscious sedation causes some drowsiness
  • Deep sedation causes the patient to stay on the edge of consciousness
  • General anesthesia results in complete unconsciousness

Sedation can also be administered in several different ways. With minimal sedation, nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is inhaled via a mask over the nose and mouth. Your dentist will be able to control the amount you are receiving at any given time, and the results tend to wear off quickly. Oral sedation is administered by pill, which is usually something similar to valium. It may cause you to actually fall asleep during the appointment. Sedation can also be induced with an IV. This method is quickly effective, and also allows the dentist to adjust the level. General anesthesia, causing total unconsciousness, can only be administered with medications that must wear off naturally.

Your dentist will discuss these options with you and help determine which best suits both you and the situation.

Candidates for Sedation Dentistry

You might benefit from sedation dentistry if you:

  • Need an extensive amount of dental work done in one sitting
  • Have a low pain threshold
  • Have an easily induced gag reflex
  • Have extremely sensitive teeth
  • Are unable to sit in the dentist’s chair for the amount of time needed
  • Have a condition or disability that prevents you from sitting still in the dentist’s chair
  • Have dental anxiety or phobia

Children are common candidates for sedation during appointments, as the treatment helps them relax and not fidget while their teeth are being worked on. Furthermore, numerous patients with dental phobias have benefitted from sedation, and have been able to get their teeth cleaned, treated, and restored thanks to the calming and anesthetic effects.

If you do not fit into any of the above categories, but would still wish to receive dental sedation during your next appointment, talk to your dentist beforehand. They can determine if you are eligible.

You may not be a good candidate if you:

  • Are allergic to certain medications
  • Take any drugs or medications that could negatively interact
  • Have sleep apnea
  • Have respiratory problems
  • Have certain serious health issues
  • Have low blood oxygen levels

Advantages of Dental Sedation

The advantages of this treatment are multiple. Most forms are easy to administer, or else can be controlled easily by your dentist. Most also wear off quickly, allowing you to return to your daily activities in a short amount of time. Oral and inhaled sedation do not require any invasive techniques or tools, which is perfect for those with a fear of needles. Furthermore, the ability to administer different levels of sedation is useful for different types of patients, specifically those who need to be semi-conscious during the appointment, and those who do not wish to remember anything at all.

It is also important to note that this is considered a safe process that has been practiced in dentistry for years. The oral sedatives are approved and regulated by the FDA, and it is extremely unlikely for patients to experience any side effects.

If you have a visit to the dentist coming up, whether it be a regular check-up and cleaning appointment or a full procedure, ask ahead of time about dental sedation, including its availability and the best options for you.

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