Sedation dentistry is a way to get the dental treatment you need without stress or fear. Your time in the dentist’s chair can be a comfortable experience even if you suffer from severe dental anxiety. There are several types of sedation dentistry starting from general relaxation therapy to general anesthesia.
There are different levels of sedation, but they all use medication that affects the central nervous system to put the patient in a relaxed and calm state so the dentist can perform any procedures needed. Various drugs are used such as sleeping pills, anxiolytics and nitrous oxide.
Sedation dentistry benefits both the patient and the dentist. While the patient can relax and be free from anxiety, the dentist can focus on the required procedures with a fully cooperative patient. For some people, sedation dentistry is the only way they can get the dental care they need.
The two main types of sedation dentistry are conscious sedation and general anesthesia. In conscious sedation, the patient is conscious enough to be responsive to verbal commands. The drugs, dose and means of administering it should have a margin of safety to ensure the patient does not become unconscious.
Non-conscious sedation is general anesthesia, and the patient is asleep and unresponsive. In both types, a local anesthesia injection will also be given at the site inside the mouth where the dentist is working.
Sedation may be given orally with a sedative pill some hours before the treatment. It may take several hours for full recuperation from oral sedation, so the patient will need someone else to bring him or her to our office and take him or her home afterward.
Inhalation sedation involves nitrous oxide gas that the patient inhales until he or she is asleep. This type can be carefully regulated by the dentist and recuperation is fast. It is the only type that allows the patient to drive home afterward. Also called laughing gas, nitrous oxide can cause a euphoric effect.
Intravenous and intramuscular injections are other ways to give sedation. The type used will depend on the patient’s overall health and level of anxiety, along with the length and severity of the dental treatment.
Some of the main advantages of sedation dentistry are:
• Dental treatment from simple teeth cleaning to complicated procedures such as a root canal without discomfort, fear or anxiety
• Even long procedures may take less time when the patient is sedated and several treatments can be performed that would usually take several visits
• Children with ADHD and patients with Parkinson’s disease or anyone else who has difficulty controlling his or her movements can relax quietly for long periods
• People who may postpone dental appointments for years can get the treatment they need in a timely manner
If dental anxiety is a problem for you, we recommend that you talk to our specialist at Dentistry First to learn more about the different types of sedation dentistry. Even if you don’t have much fear, it’s a great way to get major dental work done while you relax or sleep. Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment at our office in Virginia Beach!