Visiting the dentist is not something that has to prove unpleasant. Many have anxiety regarding their dental appointments and procedures, possibly due to unpleasant experiences in the past, teeth that are overly sensitive, or other causes. Whatever the case might be, using sedation dentistry has become a way patients can get needed dental work done free of fear or anxiety. That’s very advantageous since avoiding the dentist’s office out of anxiety or fear means risking serious gum and dental problems that can harmfully impact an individual’s oral health.
Sedation dentistry is primarily used for any patients that suffer from anxiety about going to their dentist or also for dental procedures that require a longer than usual period of time to finish. Sedation dentistry is available in a number of alternative kinds with varying levels of sedation. Dentists are able to offer these various kinds of sedation, so many do provide their patients multiple options. The specific choices often vary based on the kind of dental procedure needed in conjunction with how much anxiety the patient has.
Sedation dentistry is sometimes called sleep dentistry, but not all forms of it are intended to actually put a patient into a state of sleep. Many forms of dental sedation will put a patient into a state that is sleep-like, but many others also just relax a patient to the point of not having anxiety and also not forming a memory of the actual experience. In as much as dental sedation has multiple techniques, it also has various levels of actual sedation that can happen.
There are four primary kinds of sedation dentistry available. They are inhalation sedation, IV sedation, general anesthesia, and oral sedation. On the other hand, not all dentists provide all four kinds of sedation in every location. Also important to take note of is the fact that certain sedation techniques only happen under specific conditions or when administered by licensed and trained professionals.
Inhalation sedation combines oxygen and nitrous oxide, which is sometimes known as laughing gas. The patient breathes this in through a mask that sits on their nose. It’s a kind of rather light sedation, also called anxiolysis. This particular sedation technique gives the patient a relaxed feeling, and many patients that undergo it might not remember certain aspects of their dental procedure once it is done. Local anesthetic might also be applied for pain in the process of the dental procedure. Inhalation sedation is useful for almost any kind of dental procedure that the patient might have anxiety over.
IV sedation is a deeper kind of sedation. Here, either a single sedative or a combination of pain-alleviating drugs with sedatives gets administered to the patient through an intravenous catheter. In this kind, the patient might fall totally asleep or just fall into a far deeper state of relaxation than oral sedation can accomplish. The patient involved in this is not consciously aware of the procedure and rarely remembers anything about it after. Only dental professionals who are properly licensed and trained can give this kind of sedation dentistry, which is often reserved for complicated or longer procedures, like dental implants or tooth extractions.
General anesthesia is a form of sedation that renders the patient totally unconscious so they do not experience pain or any memory of their procedure. This form of sedation is commonly limited to hospital settings involving the most complicated dental procedures or oral surgeries. Licensed anesthesiologists are necessary.
Oral sedation is one of the lighter to moderate forms of sedation, in terms of the level of application. The exact level results from a combination of factors which include the time the medication is taken, the dosage, and the type of the medication given. A class of drugs called benzodiazepines is often the one used, and they include Ativan, Halcyon, Xanax, and Valium. Oral sedatives are something that can either be given the night before or just before the procedure in order to induce relaxation. They are also something that is sometimes combined with a number of other sedation techniques. Oral sedatives are used to fight off anxiety, but they don’t alleviate or block pain, which means local anesthetics are still possible. This kind of sedation sees use in all kinds of dental procedures where anxiety is an issue.
Given the many kinds of dental sedation available, the various levels of sedation possible, and the potential combinations, no patient needs to fear going to the dentist anymore. If anxiety keeps you from the dentist, find a dental office that offers sedation dentistry, like Smiles on Broadway, so you can get your needed procedures and work done without discomfort.