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Sedation Dentistry: Types, Uses, And Safety | Hawaii Family Dental

Written by Danica Lacson on September 27, 2018

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to relax the patients while undergoing dental treatment.

Others have referred to it as “sleep dentistry,” but, this term inaccurately describes sedation dentistry. Patients are often awake in the process except those under general anesthesia.

What are the Types of Sedation used in Dentistry?

There different types of sedation used in dentistry, including inhaled minimal sedation, oral sedation, IV moderate sedation, and deep sedation and general anesthesia.

Inhaled Minimal Sedation

In the inhaled minimal sedation, patients breathe nitrous oxide or the “laughing gas” which is combined with oxygen over a mask placed over the nose. The gas helps in relaxing the patient. In this form of sedation, the amount of sedation received is controllable by the dentist. Nitrous oxide also wears off quickly. Children are usually given inhaled minimal sedation which is considered safe for them.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation varies from minimal to moderate, depending on the total dose. Patients take a pill, usually triazolam, a medication used to treat sleep problems like insomnia. People under oral sedation may experience grogginess or fall asleep during a procedure and can be awakened with a gentle shake.

IV Moderate Sedation

On the one hand, IV moderate sedation works quickly compared to oral sedation because the sedative drug is received through the veins, making the level of sedation adjustable.

Deep Sedation

For deep sedation and general anesthesia, medications taken will make you semi-unconscious or unconscious during the procedure. Until the anesthesia wears off or a reversed medication is taken, you cannot be awakened easily under general anesthesia.

Can I Undergo Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry may be recommended for:

  • People with anxiety and phobia
  • Patients who have low pain threshold
  • Individuals who have the tendency to fidget while on the dental chair
  • Those with sensitive teeth or gag reflex
  • Patients who are in need of significant amount of treatment

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

Although the risk of getting anesthesia is always present, sedation dentistry is considered safe when administered by an experienced dentist.

People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or obesity may need to consult with their doctor before having sedation dentistry because they are likely to develop complications from anesthesia.

Also, it will help if you are well-aware of the procedure you are about to undergo. Your dentist should review your dental and medical history before administering sedation or anesthesia to ensure that it will not complicate with your medications and conditions.

Ask your dentist about the dose of sedative. For additional safety, review beforehand the recommended dosages of sedative by the FDA and the ADA. Your dentist is also required to properly inform you of the procedure, the sedative, the risks, and possible complications. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Depending on the type of sedation, your dentist is required to ensure that you are fully awake and in your senses before letting you out of the office. If you are still feeling unwell or dizzy.

Who can perform Sedation Dentistry?

The American Dental Association has set out guidelines on dentists' use of sedation and general anesthesia including the qualifications required from the dentist to perform or administer sedation.

All dentists who want to administer sedation must complete a comprehensive training in moderate sedation in compliance with the organization's Guidelines for Teaching Pain Control and Sedation to Dentists and Dental Students or an advanced education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation which provides the complete and proper training in the administration and management of minimal sedation similar to ADA's guidelines.

All dentist are also required to have the current certification in Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.

For those who wish to administer moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia, a current certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support or completion of an appropriate dental sedation or anesthesia emergency management course on the same recertification cycle that is required for ACLS.

Moreover, ADA also requires dental offices to have the needed equipment to check your vital signs during the procedure, emergency tools and equipment for immediate response during times of emergency situations.


Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

References:

  • https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/sedation-dentistry-can-you-really-relax-in-the-dentists-chair#2-4
  • https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/anesthesia/a-guide-to-sedation-dentistry-0515
  • https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anesthesia-and-sedation
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