Did you know that about 22 percent of dental patients skip their appointments? This is because they are afraid of the dentist. Thanks to developments in modern dentistry, there are now many solutions for easing dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry is a great help for those who get restless, can't sit still, or find peace of mind in the dental chair. It’s also good news for those who have a sensitive gag reflex.
Sedation is the process of administering drugs to suppress your central nervous system. It aims to produce a calming effect, making you less aware of your surroundings. Sedation dentistry reduces your dental phobia or anxiety before and during a dental procedure. Here are the different types of sedation dentistry and what you can expect from each:
Inhaled Minimal Sedation. This is commonly recommended for those who want to become more comfortable during routine treatments like cavity fillings. It's an excellent option for patients with gag reflex issues. With inhaled minimal sedation, you use a nose mask to deeply breathe in a mixture of laughing gas or nitrous oxide and oxygen. You will feel the relaxing effects within just a few minutes. You will remain awake during your dental procedure but may experience a slight tingling sensation in your extremities. The gas will wear off quickly as soon as you stop breathing it.
Oral Conscious Sedation. This often involves taking a prescription medication like benzodiazepine the night before your dental procedure. You will take another dose approximately an hour before your treatment and bring an extra to your dentist's office. Your doctor will let you know if the in-office pill dosage will be necessary before your treatment. Just like inhaled minimal sedation, oral conscious sedation will keep you awake while allowing for deep relaxation. But it's worth noting that most patients remember very little to nothing right after their dental procedure. Moderate oral sedation may cause you to fall asleep during your dental treatment. But your dentist will surely be able to wake you up with just a gentle nudge.
Conscious Intravenous (IV) Sedation. This involves injecting the sedative into your vein. Versed and Fentanyl are two of the most common drugs your doctor will administer for conscious IV sedation. This takes effect almost instantly. Once it has kicked in, you will not be aware of your surroundings and will unlikely remember the treatment afterward. Since you don't completely lose consciousness, your dentist can still wake you up easily if they have to give you instructions. Throughout the procedure, your dentist may make adjustments to your dosage. This depends on how you respond to the drugs. You may be in an extremely relaxed state while under conscious IV sedation. But you won't require assistance to maintain your breathing and cardiovascular functions.
General Anesthesia. Also known as deep IV sedation, general anesthesia involves drugs like Propofol to put you to sleep. This way, you will be completely unaware of what's happening. An anesthesiologist or any qualified medical professional must be present to administer the sedative and monitor your vital signs. Under deep sedation, your doctor will have difficulty waking you up until the drug has worn off. Most dentists recommend general anesthesia for more complex procedures like bone grafting or implant surgery.
Do you want to learn more about sedation dentistry? Visit Levenson Smile today in Worcester, Massachusetts. Call (508) 731-3940 to schedule your consultation.