If you are even slightly anxious or fearful of your upcoming dental treatment or procedure, you should know dental technology has advanced to the point that patients now feel little-to-no pain. There is no longer any reason to worry about a dental treatment, cleaning or procedure thanks to the rise of dental sedation. There are a number of different dental sedation options. Let’s take a quick look at each type of sedation, explain why they are used and delve deeper into the merits of modern dental sedation.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is quite the popular form of dental sedation, especially for root canals and crowning a tooth. Nitrous oxide relaxes patients so deeply that they do not feel pain yet remain awake. The numbing takes place in as little as a single minute. Laughing gas is favored by dentists and patients alike as it no longer induces numbness once it is turned off. This brief window of sedation makes it possible for the patient to quickly bounce back to his or her normal self and drive back home following the dental appointment without assistance from a friend or family member.
A number of IV sedation variations exist. One form, referred to as twilight, allows the patient to remain conscious and slightly aware of the room. The patient feels quite groggy as this type of sedation is applied. Aside from twilight IV sedation, general anesthesia is also available though rarely used for sleep dentistry. If general anesthesia is applied, the patient will be completely unconscious and the anesthetist will have to monitor his or her vital signs throughout the duration of the procedure.
Patients who suffer from anxiety will likely find oral sedation is optimal. Also referred to as conscious sedation, oral sedation involves the use of a sedative prescribed by the dentist. A single pill is taken the night prior to the procedure. Another pill is taken immediately ahead of the dental appointment. Though the patient is awake amidst during the procedure and will likely remember some of what occurred, it will prove comfortable. The only drawback to oral sedation is it lasts longer than laughing gas. A patient anesthetized with oral sedation will require a ride home as he or she will be too groggy to drive.
The patient will ultimately have to decide between conscious and non-conscious sedation. Meet with the dentist to determine which approach is ideal for your unique dental procedure or treatment, mind-state, pain tolerance and comfort with anesthetics. The logic in using conscious sedation is that the patient can enjoy at least some consciousness during the procedure. A somewhat conscious patient can respond to the dentist’s verbal commands as well as physical stimulation to facilitate the procedure.
The different types of conscious sedation are divided between modes of administration, be it oral, intravenous or inhalation. Conscious sedation is also divided at the sedation level, be it deep, moderate or light. Non-conscious sedation also referred to as general anesthesia, requires the patient to reach a deep sleep state. The patient sleeps so deeply he or she does not respond to stimuli in the room. This immobile patient is unaware of anything the dentist states. There is no recollection of the dental treatment or procedure. This form of sedation is typically used for especially complex dental procedures.
The sedative method used for your unique dental procedure will be different from that used for another procedure and patient. Dental sedative1 methods differ by purpose as well as strength. The dentist will help you choose the sedative option best suited for your idiosyncratic level of sensitivity, anxiety and specific operation. Though the dentist will steer you toward the best sedatives and methods for your unique oral health state and oral health challenge, you can always request a stronger sedative.
In general, the levels of dental sedation typically range from deep to moderate and all the way down to mild. Each level of sedation is safe yet it is prudent to discuss what the experience will be like with each sedative prior to proceeding. The dentist will ask for your medical history along with a list of all the medications you have taken including herbal supplements and over the counter products.
Mild sedation also referred to as anxiolysis, relieves anxiety. Examples include laughing gas and pills. Moderate sedation reduces awareness yet allows for independent breathing and responses to physical and auditory stimulation. Moderate sedation is taken prior to the appointment yet it can be supplemented to guarantee patient comfort. Deep sedation often prevents the patient from independent breathing and using reflexes. This sedation level is comparably expensive yet it completely masks pain.
Nowadays, just about every patient is sedated before a dental procedure. Whether it is filling a tooth, performing root canal therapy or another procedure, the dentist will go to great lengths to minimize pain. However, dental sedation is important for reasons beyond pain minimization. Dental sedation makes it feel as though the procedure lasted a couple minutes or even a couple seconds when in reality it likely took half an hour or even hours to complete. This way, those especially challenging dental procedures that would typically require a series of appointments can be done in a couple appointments or less. Whether you are nervous about an upcoming dental procedure, afraid of dental instruments or have had a bad experience at the dentist’s office in the past, you can benefit from dental sedation.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in the past six months or if you know you need a procedure or treatment, we are at your service. Give us a call at (925) 693-7077 to learn more about our dental sedation for pain-free treatment. Contact us today and to schedule your appointment.