Millions of Americans would rather be anywhere other than the dentist’s chair. And for some people, the fear of being in such a position constitutes an anxiety-inducing phobia. Dental sedation is a safe, popular option for patients wanting to minimize discomfort during their next visit to Perfecting Your Smile – Dr. Pete.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry incorporates medication to help dental patients relax during their procedure. Depending on the sedation level, patients may or may not be awake while the dentist works. Sedation levels include:
Minimal sedation: the patient is awake but relaxed.
Moderate sedation: the patient’s speech might be impeded, and their memory of the procedure may be unclear.
Deep sedation: the patient is barely conscious, but can be awakened if needed.
General anesthesia: the patient is completely unconscious.
Who Is a Candidate For Dental Sedation?
The most common candidates for dental sedation are people possessing a genuine fear or anxiety that is debilitating enough to prevent them from going to the dentist. In extreme cases, this can mean choosing to deal with constant, severe oral pain instead of having the pain alleviated at the dentist’s office.
Other sedation dentistry candidates include people who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Find it difficult to sit still
- Have very sensitive teeth
- Possess a bad gag reflex
- Require a significant quantity of dental work
What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?
A dental sedation procedure is usually accompanied by a local anesthetic like Novocain. This numbs the part of the mouth targeted by the dentist, helping to relieve any pain experienced by the patient.
Inhaled minimal sedation
A mix of nitrous oxide (aka “laughing gas”) is inhaled through a mask placed over the nose. The gas promotes relaxation, is easily controllable by the dentist, and usually wears off fast.
For minimal oral sedation, a pill typically suffices, taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill promotes drowsiness, though the patient is still awake. If necessary, a larger dose can be given. It isn’t uncommon for an orally-sedated patient to fall asleep during the procedure, but usually a gentle shake is all that’s needed to wake them up.
IV moderate sedation
An IV is administered and a sedative drug is injected into the patient’s vein, promoting a quicker response to the sedative. During the dental procedure, the dentist can adjust the level of sedation.
Deep sedation and general anesthesia
This refers to any medication that renders the patient barely conscious or totally unconscious (deeply asleep) during the procedure. While under general anesthesia, a patient cannot easily be awakened until the anesthesia wears off or is countered with medication.
Sit Back and Relax At Our Local Dental Office
With a friendly, experienced staff and safe, effective dental sedation options at our disposal, Perfecting Your Smile – Dr. Pete is a great place for people seeking a comfortable experience with their local dentist. Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from the oral care you need – contact us today to make an appointment.