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A significant number of Americans do not visit the dentist for regular checkups because they are too fearful or suffer from dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry offers an excellent way to provide a safe, anxiety-free, dental experience to those who are afraid of the dentist.
Sedation dentistry is often mistakenly thought to induce sleep. In fact, many sedatives allow the patient to stay awake during the procedure. Sleepiness is a side effect of some medications, but nitrous oxide and IV sedation only work to calm anxiety throughout the dental visit.
Safety and compliance are two important aspects of treatments, so sedation dentistry offers both the individual and the dentist the best alternative.
Whatever the form of sedative, it is essential to be accompanied by a caregiver. Sometimes, sedatives are provided the night before the dental visit, which means that driving to or from the appointment is not advisable.
Here are some advantages associated with sedation dentistry:
What kinds of sedatives are available?
The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide and IV sedation. Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs. Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, taking note of any current medications.
Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Intravenous sedation is a moderate type of sedation. A licensed dental anesthesiologist is brought in when a patient elects this type of sedation. The anesthesiologist administers all sedatives, and is present throughout the entire procedure monitoring all the patient's vital signs, including breathing and blood pressure. Patients who have previously experienced IV sedation often report feeling like they slept through the entire procedure. Generally, IV sedation is used for shorter treatments. It is administered via direct injection into the bloodstream, which means the effects are immediate. Sometimes patients feel groggy and sleepy when the IV sedatives are withdrawn. This is why it is necessary for the patient to bring a designated driver for the drive home.
If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry, please contact our office.