Many people avoid visiting the dentist because of common dental phobia. Avoiding regular dental treatment often results in neglect of oral health and appearance, up to and beyond the point when drastic measures become necessary. Sedation dentistry addresses this phobia, allowing people to undergo dental work while avoiding this common apprehension. Additionally, sedation dentistry is such that complex dental procedures normally requiring numerous visits can often be performed in just one or two sittings. Many dentists now offer sedation dentistry; however, the level of experience among dentists in sedation dentistry varies.
Sedation dentistry is a technique used by a trained dentist to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for people receiving dental treatment. A major benefit to the sedation technique is that people often feel the procedure lasts only a few minutes when in fact, it might have taken hours to perform. Most people rarely feel any discomfort after the procedure. Cast aside your dental phobias through sedation dentistry.
What is Sedation?
Sedation is a technique that aims to pharmacologically alter your central nervous system (CNS) to produce an overall calm and relaxed (sedated) sensation. Sedative drugs (tranquillizers, depressants, sleeping pills, anxiolytics, etc.) are used to induce sedation and can be administered in a variety of ways.
In the past, IV sedation was predominantly used to produce a sedated effect in dentistry. IV sedation is both safe and effective when administered by a professional. Today, there are alternatives available for sedation dentistry patients. Inhalation and oral sedation offer a "no needle" approach that many patients find more accommodating than the traditional IV method.
Seeking the advice of a dentist experienced in sedation dentistry, rather than foregoing treatment because of fear and potential pain, gives people the opportunity to undergo critical procedures that they would have otherwise avoided.
Sleep Dentistry or Sedation Dentistry?
Although you are kept awake throughout the sedation process, sedation dentistry has occasionally been dubbed as sleep dentistry. However, the term sleep dentistry is misleading. In actual fact, you do not sleep during the procedure, but because of the sedation effect produced by the medication, you may feel sleepy. If complex medical problems exist that prohibit you from receiving sedation, you may be given a different medication to induce a deeper type of sleep during the dental procedure. This is called general anesthesia, not sedation dentistry.
When it comes to sedation dentistry, sedative methods vary in strength and purpose; however, no one modality is considered better than others. Rather, each sedation dentistry modality is designed to serve a specific purpose. While the sedation dentist decides on the modality, you can ask for stronger sedatives if you suffer from severe anxieties.
- Local Anesthesia: The most common method is local anesthesia, which can be administered via injection in the mouth. In this case, a topical anesthetic gel that produces a numbing effect is swabbed on the area being worked on prior to injection. Local anesthetics are convenient because they leave you conscious and fully aware. Local anesthetics are best used for minor dental procedures.
- Inhalation Analgesia (also known as Laughing Gas or Nitrous Oxide): In order to administer Nitrous Oxide, a small nose-hood is placed over the nose, through which nitrous oxide or "laughing gas" is administered prior to and throughout the treatment. People typically experience an overall feeling of well-being, tingling and numbness. Nitrous Oxide is one of the more commonly requested types of anesthesia from people who have anxieties about their procedure.
- Oral Sedation: In the form of a small pill, oral sedation is given before dental procedures to diminish awareness of pain, sounds, and smells. Oral sedation is most commonly associated with sedation dentistry.
- Intravenous Sedation, Intramuscular Sedation, and General Anesthesia are not offered in our dental practice.
In all cases of sedation dentistry, it is important to have an escort accompany you to the procedure, drive you home after the procedure is complete, and stay with you for an additional two to four hours at home.