What is sedation dentistry?

Many people have an overwhelming fear of the dentist and tremble at the thought of a dental cleaning or treatment for an oral health care concern such as a filling or root canal.  But did you know that dentists and oral health care providers have a variety of ways to make a visit to the dentist more comfortable and less stressful? 

Anxious patients of all ages may benefit from sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry provides both children and adults a safe and simple way to relax while needed oral health care takes place. Sedation can take place though an inhaled gas, a simple pill or medication administered through an IV.  Sedation is generally separated into several categories:

Mild sedation: This sedation is achieved when the patient inhales a gas called nitrous oxide, which is commonly referred to as laughing gas. This is the lightest form of dental sedation used, and it provides a very gentle and light level of relaxation.  Some describe this mild sedation as a floating sensation or a carefree feeling. Effects diminish quickly after laughing gas is removed from the patient, and recovery is very quick.  Patients can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.

Moderate sedation: Moderate sedation involves taking a pill such as Valium or Halcion an hour or two before a scheduled dental cleaning or procedure.  These medications produce a strong sense of relaxation. Some patients report that this level of sedation makes them very groggy and relaxed enough to fall asleep during a dental procedure, but this type of sedation also allows patients to be easily roused, if needed.

Deep sedation: For this level of sedation, pain relieving and sedative drugs are administered through an IV line, causing the patient to be very relaxed and not remember much of the dental procedure. Patients remain conscious with use of this method and can communicate with the dentist or doctor, but they are extremely calm and peaceful.

Sometimes general anesthesia is used for dental procedures, which means that a patient is completely unconscious and cannot be easily awakened during treatment. This is used much less frequently for dental procedures than the lesser levels of sedation listed above.

People fear the dentist for many reasons. Adults may have intense anxiety as a result of a bad childhood dental experience.  Many may have a hard time enduring lengthy dental procedures.  Some may find that they do not experience adequate numbing from topical and injected anesthetics used in dental treatment.  Others may have a low pain tolerance, an active gag reflex or very sensitive teeth, which makes treatment complicated.  If you’ve avoided the dentist for any of these reasons or if you have a significant amount of corrective work that needs to be done, sedation can make a potentially stressful situation a lot more comfortable.

Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you from seeking the treatment you need. Whether you need a simple, routine cleaning or require correction of a more complicated dental concern, dental sedation can help you relax and get through the process with minimal pain and discomfort. Worried about dental injections? Dentist even have a way to ensure that you don’t feel the prick of the needle. The Dental Vibe tool eliminates the comfort from dental injections, too. Talk to your dentist about the combination of treatment options, sedation choices and pain relieving measures that are right for you. Don’t let your fear and anxiety prevent you from taking care of your oral health.  Ask your dentist today about solutions that are right for you. You’ll be smiling in no time!

To learn more about painless dental procedures, visit dentalvibe.com to find a Dental Vibe dentist near you.

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