Many individuals suffer from a fear of dental procedures. They become filled with anxiety and dread at the mere thought of going to the dentist. Some of these individuals have had a negative experience in the past, sensitive teeth or other issues that have made them fearful. For this very reason, many people tend to avoid dental care all together. In doing so, they often develop issues with their teeth and gums. With sedation dentistry, these same individuals can have complete dental procedures without any amount of fear or anxiety.
Sedation dentistry is not only used for those patients with anxiety about certain dental procedures; it is also great for use while undergoing dental procedures that may take a significant amount of time to complete. There are a variety of levels and types of sedation dentistry. Most all dentists offer more than one option in sedation. This often depends on the dental procedure that is going to be performed as well as the patient’s level of anxiety.
Sedation dentistry is available in four main types. These types of sedation include oral sedation, inhalation sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation and finally general anesthesia. Not all dentists choose to make all types available. Each different type requires administering by a licensed and trained personnel member. In the following, these four types of sedation dentistry are briefly discussed.
- Inhalation sedation is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Patients simply breathe the combination through a mask placed over their nose. This technique causes a relaxed feeling. Some individuals are not able to remember dental procedures when completed. Inhalation sedation is a light form that is often termed anxiolysis or laughing gas.
- Oral sedation produces a light or moderate level of sedation and relaxation. Certain drugs such as Xanax, Halcyon, Ativan or Valium are administered. Oral sedation is administered shortly before the procedure. In some cases, oral sedation is used in combination with other sedation methods. This depends again upon the level of anxiety a patient is experiencing.
- Intravenous or IV sedation is a deep type of sedation. A combination of sedatives and drugs for pain relief are given by IV catheter. During IV sedation, patients remain asleep and in a state of relaxation. This form of sedation can only be given to a patient by a dental professional that was trained to provide the sedation. Patients usually awaken easily once the procedure is complete with no memories of any part of the process.
- General Anesthesia renders a patient completely unconscious with no pain or memory of the procedure. This type of sedation is usually only given in a hospital by licensed anesthesiologists when complex dental procedures are needed.
Sedation dentistry is rapidly growing in popularity throughout the country. Numerous individuals are choosing to use sedation techniques. Many of those who have feared dental procedures for years are now getting the proper dental care they need.