Any type of phobia can be a difficult and often frightening condition, but fear of the dentist can be one of the worst because it can ultimately even be deadly. Proper dental care is vital to a healthy mouth and body. People who neglect going to the dentist for treatment are putting their health at risk, but sedation dentistry offers them a way to get the care they need to maintain better health.
Dental sedation involves administering certain types of drugs, from mild to stronger medications, to help a patient relax. The effects of the drugs decrease anxiety and awareness of the specifics related to treatment, so that procedures can be performed without upsetting the patient. Pain is also diminished so that the patient is comfortable during the dental visit.
Sedation methods vary according to the patient and the treatment. The medication may be given as pills that are swallowed orally, nitrous oxide gas that is inhaled through a mask, or medication given intravenously directly into the vein. Often, local anesthetics might still be required but the patient is already under the effects of sedation and does not feel the injection.
There are a number of benefits provided be sedation dentistry. Patients who otherwise might avoid checkups are able to get preventative care and procedures done without anxiety. They usually don’t remember what happened during treatment, so they come away without negative memories. Patients are also able to sit still during treatment, and for longer periods of time so that multiple procedures may be performed if needed. Lengthy or complex procedures are made possible by using sedation that allows patients to cooperate and not realize how long they are in the dental chair.
Sedation dentistry is a way for patients to obtain necessary dental care without the anxiety or fear that sometimes accompanies it. This can make all the difference in improving some people’s oral and general health.
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Sedation dentistry is any type of dentistry treatment performed in conjunction with the patient being given some kind of anesthetic. Sedation dentistry can give the dental professional the freedom to perform all types of therapies while the patient is completely comfortable and pain-free.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
While utilizing sedation dentistry, you will be monitored by your dentist at all times. Age, medical conditions and existing medications can all be factors to consider when choosing a type of sedation.
Is conscious sedation the same thing as sedation dentistry?
Conscious sedation is the term for a type of treatment a patient receives that allows the patient freedom from fear, anxiety and pain while still remaining aware enough to follow simple instructions given by the dentist’s team. Conscious sedation can be administered on several levels, customized to each particular patient’s anxiety level.
How is conscious sedation administered?
Conscious sedation can be administered orally, inhaled or by IV. Oral sedation is delivered via a pill. Most patients take the pill one hour prior to the treatment. Some choose to take a pill the night before to be certain to get a good night’s sleep. Inhaled sedation is commonly known as laughing gas, and can allow you to feel as though you are drifting away during a treatment. Deeper, faster-acting sedation can be achieved through intravenous sedation.
Should I choose sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a choice open to anyone who is in good physical shape who has fear, anxiety or stress about an upcoming dental treatment. If you find yourself dreading a visit to the dentist to get necessary work completed, be honest with your dentist about your fears and ask about all of the ways sedation dentistry can help you get the work you need, in comfort and ease.
If you have chosen to utilize sedation dentistry to address your anxiety or discomfort during dental treatment, you need to make preparations beforehand to be certain you are safe following your dental visit. Some sedation options leave you unable to drive or make decisions clearly, and you should be prepared to face whatever lingering effects come your way.
Conscious oral sedation is prescribed in the form of a pill that is taken orally. Typically, this pill is taken about an hour prior to the procedure in order to ensure relaxation and ease. Often a dentist will recommend that the patient take a dose the night prior to the treatment, making sure that the patient rests well and is in the best mental and physical condition for recovery. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is another form of conscious sedation. Both the pills and the gas leave patients comfortable and at ease, but still responsive to commands by the dentist or staff.
The next level of sedation is intravenous sedation, also called IV sedation. This sedation is the fastest acting of all the sedation dentistry treatments. A known side-effect of IV sedation is memory loss, so most patients won’t remember what happened while they were “under.” Many patients believe erroneously that they were completely “out” or unconscious during treatment, but this isn’t true. You are still able to respond to commands, but the memory loss makes you feel as though you are asleep.
You will not be allowed to drive yourself following IV or conscious oral sedation. Even though you are up and walking and talking, it may take hours before the effects of the sedation wear off enough to make it safe for you to drive. Do not even consider trying to trick the dentist into thinking someone else is driving you home. You could cause a serious accident and harm yourself or others.
Talk to your dentist to determine what is recommended as far as recovery time goes for your specific sedation dentistry treatment choices.
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Sometimes it is necessary to sedate patients during dental procedures to allow them to be more comfortable and to decrease their anxiety. The two methods that dentists typically use are general anesthesia and IV sedation. Let’s learn the differences between these two types of sedation, and more specifics about most dentists’ preferred method of IV sedation.
IV stands for intravenous, and means the medicine is administered through an injection into the veins. It causes you to become very sleepy and unable to feel pain, but you are aware of what’s happening around you and are even able to follow instructions. On the other hand, general anesthesia requires inhaling sedation gas through a mask. This causes total unconsciousness, so that you are unaware of anything going on around you and experience no pain.
Many dentists prefer IV sedation because you can follow commands if needed, and the medication levels can be adjusted easily depending on your oxygen levels, blood pressure, and pulse. IV sedation does impair you enough that you should arrange help with transportation home after the procedure because you will be groggy, and you may experience some nausea. Other than those possible side effects, there are really no other issues to worry about with this type of sedation. IV sedation is considered to be a safe, fast, and painless type of anesthesia when it is necessary during dental treatment.
One extremely common fear shared by many people is a fear of the dentist. Patients who possess this fear are often anxious and nervous about the sights, sounds and smells of a dentist’s office. Just imagining a routine visit can leave someone shaken and fearful, unable to sleep the nights prior to treatment.
Patients who share this common fear can put off necessary dental work. A fear of pain or needles can lead a patient to tolerate tooth pain or signs of infection in the mouth. If this sounds like you, talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry options.
Many people assume you must be fearful at a phobic level to benefit from sedation dentistry. This isn’t true! Sleeplessness, anxiety and low-level fear can all be helped with some form of sedation dentistry. Oral sedatives can be prescribed to be taken the night prior to a dentist visit, as well as the day of, to ensure a restful night’s sleep and an easy day before treatment.
Sedation dentistry during procedures is very safe, as you are monitored at all times by the dentist. Because of the deep level of relaxation possible utilizing sedation dentistry, more work can be done in a single visit, cutting down on trips to the dental office.
General dentistry procedures such as checkups, regular cleanings and cosmetic treatments can all be performed on a patient being treated with sedation dentistry. For a patient with fear and anxiety, each therapy can be made better with the addition of sedation dentistry.
Over time, with the use of sedation dentistry, some of your fears and anxieties can begin to lessen. Positive experiences can build up mental and emotional trust in the dentist, and patients can find that they need less and less of the sedation to feel comfortable.
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Sedation dentistry is often hailed as a solution to all of a patient’s problems regarding dental therapies. It can address anxiety, fear, stress and pain. It can provide a comfortable experience for the dental patient, allowing the dental professional to work safely and quickly. As with any pharmacological agent, there are risks, and before you agree to any sedation dentistry option, it is smart to educate yourself about some of those risks.
While single doses of oral sedatives such as Valium or Halcion are unlikely to harm a patient, there are concerns regarding multiple doses of these drugs that could potentially cause a patient to be overly sedated, or even completely unconscious. Because each patient has a different metabolism, drugs can take between twenty minutes and an hour to become fully effective.
These time-delay issues are not problematic for inhaled sedation or for IV sedation, as these types of sedation dentistry are effective almost instantaneously. For oral sedation, however, a dentist who administers more than one pill could cause an overdose if the medicine kicks in at the same time. Most dentists lack both the equipment and the training to effectively and quickly address an overdose in a patient who is unconscious.
In 2000, a group known as the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation was launched. Its purpose is to train dentists on sedation dentistry methods such as how to properly monitor a patient during a dental procedure to ensure that their heart rates and oxygen levels are healthy. Despite this, there are still concerns about adverse effects of adults with oral conscious sedation. There have been no reported adult deaths from overdosing; however, some children have died from oral sedation, leading to the practice being recommended only for adults.
If you are about to undergo a prolonged dental procedure, or if you are considering sedation dentistry to address personal anxiety or a dental phobia, look for a dentist who has received training in sedation dentistry and has high levels of experience to ensure that your procedure is as safe and comfortable as possible.
If you need a dentist in Morehead City contact us today