What is Sedation Dentistry?
2015 l 2:00 pm

Many dental patients have a hard time feeling comfortable when they visit a dentist. Whether they feel discomfort after seeing the myriad of tools dentists use or they simply have an uneasy feeling about the idea of seeing a dentist perform work in their mouth, each patient has their own experience which causes them to fear going to the dentist. Unfortunately, some people avoid going to the dentist because of their fear or anxiety. Instead of getting the oral care that they need, they allow their smile to degrade. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help patients  relax while the dentist provides them with oral care. What is sedation dentistry? Read on to learn how this practice can help you overcome your fear of the dentist.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the practice of using medications to calm patients while they are getting care from their dentist. With so many people having a genuine fear of dentists, sedation dentistry helps ensure that patients get the care they need while also ensuring the dentist is safe.

Many people’s ideas about sedation dentistry combines their knowledge of anesthesia used during other types of surgery with their experience with dentists, which leads them to believe they will be completely asleep while the dentist works on their mouth.

Sedation dentistry does not require patients to be asleep while they are receiving dental care. Patients will be able to see everything their dentist is doing to their mouth while they are receiving treatment.

Although they are awake, patients are not in a heightened state of emotions, which can easily put them and the dentist in danger.

Types of Sedation Dentistry Used in Dentist Offices

There will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to dentistry, so there is no reason to expect that when it comes to sedation dentistry. Each patient is different, so each dentist will use the appropriate type and level of sedation that is beneficial for their patient.

  • Oral Sedation: Using a pill similar to Valium, dentists help patients reduce their worries in about an hour. The amount of each dose will depend on particulars about the patient. With this form of sedation, patients will be awake, even if they receive a large dose.
  • Inhaled Sedation: Many people think of this form of sedation treatment as laughing gas, typically because they feel at ease once they inhale the gas. In actuality, the gas is nitrous oxide and oxygen and it helps patients relax and keep them from being tense while they are receiving treatment.
  • IV Sedation: Helps the dentist better control the level of sedation their patients experience. Delivered through an IV, the medicine goes straight to a patient’s bloodstream, allowing patients to experience the calming effect of the medication within a few minutes.

Some determinants that help the dentist determine what type and amount of sedation medicine to give patients include their age, weight, and the treatment they are receiving.

Types of Procedures Involving Sedation Dentistry

Whether a dentist can utilize sedation dentistry depends on permits and other regulations determined by each state. However, with the right approval, dentists can use sedation dentistry as they see fit. For instance, if they have a patient who has anxieties about getting their teeth cleaned, a dentist may see the need for a pill to ensure the patient does not harm them during the procedure. Other types of procedures that may involve sedation medication include:

By using sedation dentistry, many dentists can help their patients get through the procedure so that they can begin restoring their smiles.

Does Sedation Dentistry Work for Everyone?

The ultimate goal of sedation dentistry is to help patients relax while they are receiving the dental care they need, not everyone needs this type of treatment. For the most part, only individuals who have trouble remaining calm or still during their procedure will need sedation dentistry.

Whether the technique works depends solely on a dentist’s ability to administer the sedation medication effectively. If a dentist fails to consider certain aspects unique to the patient, e.g. their weight, then the sedation treatment may not be enough to prevent the pain they are feeling or to calm them down so that the dentist can complete the procedure.

Sedation dentistry works for children, adults, and seniors who have a problem facing the dentist. Instead of putting off getting the oral care one deserves, people should ask their dentist about measures they can use to help them relax while they are undergoing a dental procedure.