Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry
If the thought of visiting a dentist to have your teeth cleaned causes fear and anxiety, then sedation can be used to help you stay calm during the procedure. Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to help you relax during a dental procedure. While it is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” patients are generally awake during the procedure, with the exceptions of those under general anesthesia. Given the safety of sedation dentistry it has become a very popular option for those with dental fears. The types of sedation used are as follows.
Oral sedation often ranges from minimal to moderate depending on the total dose given. For minimal sedation, a pill is usually enough. This pill Halcion, which shares the same drug family as Valium, is taken about an hour before the entire procedure begins. Although the pill makes you drowsy, you’ll remain awake during the procedure. On the other hand, a larger dose is administered for moderate sedation. This type of anesthesia is the most commonly associated with typical sedation dentistry. Some individuals become so groggy from moderate sedation that they fall asleep during this procedure. However, a gentle shake can be used to awaken them.
Inhaled Minimal Sedation
The patient breathes “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide combined with oxygen) via a mask placed over the nose to help him or her relax. The dentist controls the amount of sedation received, and the gas will usually wear off quickly. Fortunately, it is the only type of sedation where patients are able to drive themselves home after the dental procedure.
IV Moderate Sedation
Administered through a vein, this form of sedation works more quickly. In addition, the dentist is able to adjust the level of sedation continually.
Deep Sedation & General Anesthesia
The medication makes you almost unconscious/ totally unconscious during the procedure. Under general anesthesia, you cannot be awakened easily until its effects wear off or are quickly reversed with medication. But regardless of the type of sedation used, a local anesthetic is used to bring numbing sensation or relieve pain at the site your dentist is working in the patient’s mouth, especially if the procedure causes discomfort.