If you or your child are among the millions of Americans who are anxious to visit a dentist, sedation dentistry will work wonders for you. Sedation can be employed in almost every dental treatment, from a simple professional teeth cleaning to invasive dental procedures. However, the type of sedative and its dose depend on the intensity of distress and trepidation.

Overview of Sedation in Dentistry

Dentists normally administer sedatives to their patients to promote a relaxing and anxiety-free dental treatment. It is 100 percent safe and proven to minimize the stress level of the patients. As per the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), 30 percent of Americans have dental phobia. And with sedation dentistry, there’s no more reason for anyone to endanger their oral health and its functionality.

There are various degrees of sedation that dentists use, including minimal, moderate, deep or general anesthesia.

  • Minimal Sedation – The patient is conscious, but relaxed.
  • Moderate Sedation – The patient might not recall parts of the procedure or slur words.
  • Deep Sedation – The patient is on the edge of consciousness and can still be awakened.
  • General Anesthesia – The patient is completely knocked out.

Types of Sedation

There are four primary types of sedation in dentistry. It can be inhaled (nitrous oxide), oral, intravenous (IV) or general anesthesia.

Nitrous oxide sedation is the lightest kind of dental sedation, yet it still serves as anesthesia to block pain and relax the patient. The sedative agent, which is the nitrous oxide or laughing gas, is fused with oxygen and breathed in via a small mask that is big enough for your nose. One good thing about nitrous oxide is that it has minimal side effects. The most common would be nausea, but it can be curbed by adjusting the concentration of nitrous oxide.

This type of sedation is ideal for adult patients with slight dental phobia, people with special needs, children, and to those who would want an alternative for local anesthesia. After being sedated with nitrous oxide, adult patients can even drive themselves. It is not suggested for pregnant women, drug abusers and people with breathing problems.

Like nitrous oxide sedation, oral sedation does not make the patients completely unconscious, but only relaxed. This is the most common technique used by dentists in the United States to calm the patients. It is quite easy to administer and does not require the use of needles. Oral sedation can be light to moderate, depending on the dosage.

In light sedation, the patients are provided with oral medications before the dental treatment. Normally, the effect of the drug lasts for 90 minutes or so. Conscious sedation is delivered by either a single or incremental dose. The mode of treatment is similar to that of light sedation but lasts longer.

Dentists usually prescribe drugs under the benzodiazepine family to their patients in oral sedation dentistry. Examples are Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Halcion. If you or your child take benzodiazepines, common side effects of these drugs include grogginess and disorientation. There are instances when patients fall asleep after taking benzos. It is completely normal and they can be awakened by gently shaking them.

Intravenous sedation or IV sedation is administered by inserting a needle into the patient’s vein. The medication will then be introduced directly into the patient’s bloodstream. This type of deep conscious sedation has a higher level of risks compared to its counterparts. Our bodily functions, such as blood pressure and breathing, can change so a specialized monitoring equipment is needed. That said, IV sedation has immediate effects and the amount of sedatives can easily be adjusted and controlled.

IV sedation can be used in conjunction with other types of sedatives. For instance, the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists said that nitrous oxide sedation can be administered to children when putting them to sleep, before they are poked with the IV needle.

All in all, dental sedation is a safe and convenient means of preparing yourself or your child for a dental procedure. If you are looking for a great oral health care provider that can give you the best possible experience, Aquario Dental is here to serve you.

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