Sedation dentistry is where oral treatment is provided to patients who are too afraid to visit the dentist to receive dental care by providing an anxiety-free and relaxing experience. Through this option, patients with a dental phobia can receive the dental care they require as it helps mitigate their anxiety since they are sedated through the process.
According to DOCS or the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, which is a professional dental organization that is dedicated to ensuring that patients enjoy anxiety-free, comfortable and safe dental care, about 30% of Americans avoid visiting their dentist because they are afraid of the pain they will experience during a dental procedure. Dental phobia is real and makes it hard for a lot of people to receive the necessary routine oral care, compromising the functionality and health of their mouth.
What’s Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation is the process of establishing a comfortable, calm and relaxed state through the use of a sedative. Sedatives are drugs like depressants, tranquilizers, nitrous oxide, or anti-oxide medications that are administered through various methods to relax a patient. In the past, IV or intravenous sedation, where sedatives are delivered via injection into blood vessels of the arm or hand, was the most common delivery method when it came to dental sedation.
While IV sedation is effective and safe when administered by a professional, there are new methods that have proven conducive for providing a relaxing experience. Today, patients can be sedated via alternatives of traditional inhalation modalities, which offer a “no needle” approach that a lot of people prefer.
Oral sedation is now one of the most commonly used techniques in the US and is an easy approach that requires no use of needles. Furthermore, the medications used to create such conducive experiences, that most patients don’t remember their visit it’s like they slept through their treatment. However, during oral sedation dentistry, patients maintain a level of consciousness for their own safety and for cooperation purposes.
It is worth noting that sedation is relatively different from the use of anesthetic injections. While some sedation options like nitrous oxide gas could raise a patient’s threshold for pain, a majority of dental treatment require that patients receive local anesthetic injections even when sedation techniques are being performed. The local anesthetic is used to temporarily block pain impulses from gum tissues and the affected teeth. This injection, however, will occur after the patient has already been sedated and is comfortable so they won’t remember or be bothered by the sensation of being injected.
Irrespective of the sedation dentistry option you receive, it’s vital that you have a caregiver accompany you as you go for the procedure.
The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
One of the main benefits of sedation dentistry is that it feels like the procedure only lasted a few minutes while in reality, it might have taken several hours to perform. As a result, complex procedures like extensive rebuilding or smile makeovers that often require more than one visit can be handled in fewer appointments.
If you’re reluctant of visiting the dentist because you are anxious or afraid of undergoing complicated or long dental procedures, then sedation dentistry can help make you feel more comfortable and at ease during treatment. Since sedation dentistry addresses most of the fears that keep a lot of people from visiting the dentist regularly, it makes it possible for patients who are afraid to receive routine care. This way, more people are less likely to allow oral health issues to build up to the point where drastic treatments are necessary.
Sedation Dentistry Candidates
Are you a little intimidated by dentists? This could be because of a general fear of noises and needles, or a negative experience. If that is the case, then your reasons are the perfect excuse for you to try oral sedation.
Other reasons why you should consider oral sedation dentistry are if your gag reflex is quite intense, which could make your appointment rather uncomfortable and challenging. Another reason why people avoid visiting the dentist is that they are embarrassed by their oral health. This option could also work well for you if you need some cosmetic dentistry or an extensive amount of work done on your teeth and need it done at once because of a busy schedule.
If you relate with any of the reasons mentioned above, then you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry.
The Benefits and Risks of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry provides several benefits that patients will appreciate. Not only will you rest as you receive the dental treatment you are in need of, but it will also save you time since you can have extensive procedures performed in a single appointment. Furthermore, when you wake up, you feel refreshed and with a healthier smile.
Since anesthesia presents some risks, people with medical conditions like obesity, sleep apnea, and the likes should make sure that they talk to their doctor before undergoing an oral sedation dentistry procedure.
And remember, sedation dentistry is just one way that dentists fix your cavities.
Having Sedation Dentistry Performed
Most dental doctors can perform minor sedation procedures, but it will take a professional dentist who’s specially certified to perform sedation dentistry to work on extensive or complex sedation procedures. Since oral sedation is a complex technique, make sure that your dentist is someone who has gone through a deep sedation program and is a qualified oral sedation specialist.
If you think that sedation dentistry could benefit you, then contact your local sedation dentistry specialist today for more on the procedure and to schedule a consultation.