Are you one of those people who’d rather endure a toothache than sit in a dentist’s chair? Well, if you are, then you’re not alone. There are thousands, if not millions, out there who are suffering from this sort of fear and it’s probably one of the main reasons why some people never ever go to the dentist.
Good news, though, sedation dentistry may help take away some of your anxiety. From invasive procedures to the simpler ones like tooth cleaning, sedation can be used to help ease your fears.
Using medication to help make dental procedures more relaxing and less uncomfortable, sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry”. Though, the latter is not entirely correct as patients are usually kept awake, except in cases where general anesthesia is used.
There are four different levels of sedation and these are:
- Minimal sedation is when you’re awake, but feeling relaxed.
- Moderate sedation is when you’re also awake, but you’ll likely slur when speaking. You also won’t remember much of the procedure as well.
- Deep sedation is when you’re likely just half-awake or half-asleep, depending on how you call it.
- General anesthesia is when you’re completely numbed out and unconscious throughout the whole procedure.
The Different Types of Sedation Used By Dentists
- Nitrous Oxide Sedation – This is the most common type of sedation used for patients who are simply jumpy or slightly nervous about going to the dentist. The “laughing gas” leaves patients awake and still able to talk properly, but it helps them relax and be more comfortable throughout the whole procedure. Once the nitrous is turned off, then the patients can return to their normal, jumpy selves.
- Oral Sedation – Patients who are unusually anxious may resort to oral medications to help them relax for a comfortable dental experience. Patients who’re treated under oral sedation are still largely aware of their surroundings, but are no longer as anxious and feel very much relaxed throughout the procedure. Dentists will also carefully calculate the amount of oral sedation used for each patient to make for the safest and most comfortable experience ever.
- IV Sedation – If general anesthetic doesn’t appeal to you, but you really want to take all the fear out of going to the dentist, then IV sedation is for you. It’s a bit more complicated compared to others and require advanced training and certification to administer. But, if your dentist has both, they can insert an IV into your veins that allows you to recall no memory of the whole procedure and with fewer side effects compared to general anesthetic. This type of sedation is mostly reserved for extreme cases.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Like with any other procedure, there’s always going to be some kind of risk. With sedation, though, it’s usually safe as long as it’s done or administered by a certified and experienced dentist. However, people who are obese or those who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to develop complications from anesthesia and are advised to consult their doctors first.
Also, as far as sedation dentistry is concerned, here are a few things you’ll want to do or discuss with your dentist.
- Always bring your medical history with you. Also, be honest, and tell your dentist about any medication that you may be taking. This will help your dentist determine if you’re at risk for complications.
- Don’t be afraid to ask what dose of the sedative is best for your condition and age. You can also double-check if the dose is within what’s recommended by the FDA.
- You have the right to ask your dentist about his or her training, certifications and the number of sedation procedures performed in the past.
- When presented with a list of all the risks of the procedure, be sure to go over it with your dentist. If something’s not clear to you, don’t be afraid to ask.
- The dentist should have all the necessary equipment to make sure that the procedure is as safe as possible. This includes oxygen or artificial ventilation, as well as drugs that can reverse the effects of sedation in case of an emergency.
Don’t let the fear of going to the dentist stop you from having a healthy set of beautiful-looking pearly whites. With sedation dentistry, you have exactly what you need to make all those fears and anxieties go away.
Call your San Leandro dental office, Creative Dimensions in Dentistry for more information at 510-895-1776. Visit the website at www.cddentists.com.