Sedation dentistry refers to any dental treatment or procedure that includes the use of sedative medications to help patients relax during their visit. From mild to deep sedation, there are many ways your dental team can help you experience less anxiety and feel more at ease during your appointments.
If you have anxiety about visiting the dentist or have put off important dental care due to fear, talk to your dentist about how sedation dentistry can help ease your nerves. It’s never too late to consider your oral health and the benefits that come with a beautiful, healthy smile.
What Types of Sedation Dentistry Are There?
There are many options for sedation dentistry available, such as:
- Nitrous oxide inhalation sedation (commonly called “laughing gas”) – Administered through a mask worn over the patient’s mouth; patients are able to breathe normally and will experience a pleasant euphoria while remaining conscious throughout their procedure. Patients can expect to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide almost immediately after inhaling the gas. Nitrous oxide is often used for procedures that may be slightly uncomfortable for patients, such as teeth cleaning and minor oral surgeries.
- Oral sedation – A prescription medication is taken before the procedure begins in order to induce a moderate state of unconsciousness in the patient throughout the treatment process. Most patients will fall asleep during treatment but will still be able to respond to any directions given by the dentist. Because of the effects of the medication, oral sedation is usually used for longer treatments and when patients are nervous or anxious about their procedure.
- Intravenous sedation – This type of sedation is administered intravenously by an experienced anesthesiologist that specializes in administering anesthesia to dental patients. This form of sedation allows a patient to be unconscious throughout the entire dental treatment without requiring them to breathe in any type of sedative gas. IV sedation is typically used for longer procedures and larger treatments such as full mouth reconstructions.
- General anesthetic – This is the deepest level of sedation offered; general anesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure. After this type of sedation, a patient may be groggy for several hours after treatment and will need someone to drive them home after their procedure. General anesthesia is most commonly utilized for major surgical treatments such as extractions and tooth replacements that require the most precision possible.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Yes! Sedatives are widely recognized as safe and effective for most patients. This is partly due to the fact that dentists monitor you throughout your procedure and can adjust your sedative levels accordingly. Also, it takes little time for the medication to take effect, so you will be awake enough to communicate with your dentist, and sensations should be minimal. Finally, the benefits of comfortable dental procedures far outweigh the risks of the medications. For example, the fear of going to the dentist is a fear that can keep you from seeking important dental care for years. When patients avoid seeing their dentist regularly, they run the risk of serious oral health issues, which can be expensive to treat. A comfortable experience during dental treatment can help to ease your mind and make it easier for you to keep up with regular visits.
If you have any questions concerning this treatment option, please do not hesitate to visit Dental Images of Gwinnett at 916 Lawrenceville Hwy #201, Lawrenceville, GA 30046, or call (770) 746-7233.