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 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.
For deep sedation and general anesthesia, medications taken will make you semi-unconscious or unconscious during a procedure. Until the anesthesia wears off or a reversed medication is taken, you cannot wake easily under general anesthesia.
Other than people with anxiety and phobia, there are others who are great potential candidates for sedation. Patients who have a low pain threshold, tendency to fidget while on the dentist chair, sensitive teeth, bad gag reflex, or need completion of a significant amount of treatment are possible candidates. Children are usually given inhaled minimal sedation which is considered safe for them.
Although the risk of anesthesia is always present, sedation dentistry safe with the right administration from the right professional.
People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or obesity may need to consult with their doctor before having sedation dentistry. This is because they are likely to develop complications from anesthesia. Always tell your dentist any conditions you have or medications you may be taking prior to agreeing to sedation dentistry.