Sedation dentistry has been a buzzword in the dental world for the last decade. Sometimes this service is also referred to as sleep dentistry but is not an entirely correct way to refer to sedation dentistry. With different levels of sedation, you can be completely alert and awake, and on some level you may or may not have any recollection of what procedure was done for you.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to sedate you during the process. There are several types of sedation dentistry including inhalation of nitrous oxide or laughing gas mixed with oxygen, or general anesthesia. Inhalation leaves you feeling on the edge of consciousness but not retaining much memory from the process. During general anesthesia, a patient is completely asleep and has no memory or feeling of the process.
Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?
People often turn to sedation dentistry when they have a severe phobia or anxiety about going to the dentist. The number of people who avoid visiting their dentist due to the phobia is a significant portion of society. Sometimes it’s best if the patient undergoes sedation if they have no physical or health issues to lessen the recollection, and if there’s a high level of difficulty in the procedure such as tooth extractions or multiple dental implant placements.
What is Inhalation Sedation?
Inhalation sedation is when the dentist gives you nitrous oxide. Also called laughing gas, this is perhaps the most common type of sedation dentistry and many people don't even consider this to be sedation dentistry. It’s when patients are given nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a face mask that patients will place on their nose. The gas gives the patient a more relaxed sensation and takes the edge off to calm their anxiety once inhaled. As soon as the mask is removed within the next ten minutes the effects of the gas wear off and the patient can drive themselves home. This is the most minimal form of sedation.
What Is Oral Sedation?
Also called conscious sedation, oral sedation is when you take a pill prior to your dental visit. The most common medications that are used to produce conscious sedation are Valium (diazepam) and Halcion (triazolam). These medications are taken usually an hour before the dental procedure and depending on the dosage of medications patients can be showing signs of drowsiness, grogginess, or even falling asleep but can be easily woken up by just tapping them or shaking them lightly.
Your dentist gives you a prescription at your consultation, then, you fill the prescription and take the pill before your appointment as recommended by your dentist. By the time you are in the dental chair, you are feeling relaxed and ready.
What Is IV Sedation?
Intravenous sedation is when the drugs are administered to you by using an IV to distribute the medications to your body through a vein and gets to work quickly. This will allow the dentist or the administering anesthesia team to control and adjust the level of sedation more easily and take it up or down depending on what patients need.
How Do You Prepare for Sedation Dentistry?
Ideally, you should start with a consultation with your dentist. That gives you a chance to discuss the course and type of treatment being done and which sedation methods are the best for you. If you are using oral or IV sedation, you need to arrange a ride home from your appointment. You can't operate a car after having those drugs administered while getting your treatment done. You may also have to follow other preparation steps. For example, some dentists recommend not eating for 12 hours prior to IV sedation with exceptions made for taking daily recommend medications that must follow a strict daily consumption routine.
If you think sedation dentistry might be the right option for you, whether due to phobia, anxiety, or extensive dental work, call Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today. We will be happy to walk you through our process and get you on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile.