How Safe is Sedation Dentistry?
Many Americans feel the same anxiety and fear when faced with the dentist’s chair, so much so that many dentists now offer the solution of sedation dentistry to put patients’ minds at ease and make them feel more comfortable. But what do we really know about sedation dentistry? And is it safe?
What is Sedation Dentistry?
It is the use of medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. There are different types and levels of sedation, which are used depending on the dental procedure or the patient’s level of anxiety.
The levels of sedation:
- Minimal sedation keeps the patient relaxed but they are still conscious and responsive.
- Moderate sedation or conscious sedation puts the patient in a deeper state of relaxation where in they might slur their words and tend to not remember the procedure.
- Deep sedation takes the patient in a near sleep state but they can be woken up at any moment.
- General anesthesia puts the patient in a completely unconscious state.
The types of sedation:
- Inhaled minimal sedation requires the patient to inhale nitrous oxide or laughing gas combined with oxygen through a mask. The gas helps you relax and wears off quickly so you are able to drive yourself home after the dental procedure.
- Oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate in strength. For minimal sedation, the patient will take a pill about an hour before the procedure. This pill makes the patient drowsy. A larger dose may be given to produce a moderate sedation effect. The medication will make the patient groggy and they are more likely to fall asleep during their procedure.
- IV moderate sedation is the administration of a sedative drug through an intravenous needle into a vein in the patient’s arm.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia use different medications to render the patient unconscious.
How Safe is Sedation Dentistry?
As with many things in life, no medical professional can say with absolute certainty that there is no risk involved when using anesthesia. However, it is a tried and tested practice, and is usually safe when administered by trained professionals. Qualified dentists will be monitoring your vital signs throughout the procedure and will have oxygen and drugs that reverse the effects of the sedation of hand.
What can You Do Before undergoing Sedation Dentistry?
To put your mind at ease before a dental procedure that is to include a form of sedation, make sure your dentist is qualified to administer the type of sedation you will be receiving. Additionally, you should ensure your dentist goes over your medical history to ensure you are an ideal candidate for the sedation.
It is also important to find out whether the sedation is appropriate for your age and health, and whether it will be compatible with any other medications you may be taking at the time. Ask your dentist whether the dosage of the sedation is FDA approved. You will most likely receive a form to fill in, giving your consent to the sedation. Go over that form carefully before filling in your details and ask for more information if you are unclear on any of the specified points.
Who is Eligible for Sedation Dentistry?
Most people can undergo sedation dentistry, from the elderly to children. It has become a handy tool in the dentist industry for patients who suffer from dental anxiety, but it is not only used on patients who fear the dentist chair. Patients who have a low pain threshold, a bad gag reflex, sensitive teeth or need a large amount of dental work done will most likely need a sedation method used in their dental procedure.