Believe it or not, around 40 million Americans are afraid to go to the dentist because they believe the treatments will be painful. While it’s true that some dental procedures can cause discomfort, modern science has created a solution to help patients with fear and anxiety to cooperate with dental treatments. This is known as Sedation Dentistry.
How does sedation dentistry work?
Depending on the procedure that you will undergo, there are different levels of sedation that can be used.
- Minimal sedation. You are aware of the events in your surroundings but you are relaxed.
- Moderate sedation. You may be drowsy and talk in a funny way but you are still conscious about your surroundings.
- Deep sedation. You are sleepy and may doze off every once in a while, but you can be awakened easily.
There are different mediums to administer sedatives to a dental patient.
- Nitrous oxide sedation. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is inhaled by the patient to achieve a relaxed state. Though some people fall asleep with it.
- Oral sedation. Relaxation medication (eg: Versed) is administered orally either via tablet or liquid.
- IV sedation. With this method, sedation medication is administered through an intravenous needle placed, usually in the back of the hand. You will still be able to breathe on your own and respond to instructions from the dentist, but you will have no recollection of the procedure.
When is sedation dentistry used?
Most procedures that require drilling or extraction may not require sedation. Although depending on your comfort level, sedation is an option for root canal treatment, extraction, scaling and root planing, tooth trimming, and implant placement. The below are considerations for use of sedation in some dental procedures:
- Fear and anxiety issues
- Traumatic previous dental experience
- Lack of response or allergy to local anesthesia
- Sensitive gag reflexes
- Sensitive teeth
- Several treatments are planned for one in-clinic visit
- Fear of being in a dental clinic
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
In general, sedation dentistry is safe. It should be administered by an experienced and qualified dentist like Dr. Ben Kacos. However, there are cases when you should take extra precautions before undergoing sedation dentistry. Here are some guidelines:
- If you are obese or suffer from sleep apnea, you may experience difficulty in breathing if the muscles of the body are too relaxed. When this happens, the air passageways can get constricted by the soft tissues in the throat. Discuss your condition with Dr. Ben first before you agree to undergo sedation.
- Certain medications and chemicals may react negatively with sedatives. If you are taking any medicine, inform Dr. Ben to determine if sedation is safe for you.
- The level of sedation also varies for different conditions. If you are concerned about your health safety, ask Dr. Ben to use minimal sedation for your treatment.
- Disclose any medical history to Dr. Ben first before undergoing any dental procedure.
- Dr. Ben will discuss all the details about the procedure before proceeding. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to clarify with him.
Can Children be Sedated?
Yes. Dr. Ben offers sedation dentistry to pediatric patients. If you have children who are afraid to go to the dentist but require immediate dental attention, this is the best solution to keep them from moving around during treatment.
How to Schedule for Sedation Dentistry
First, you will need to visit our clinic for a complete dental check-up. Our dental team will examine your dental health and determine the treatment/s that you need to fix the issues. Dr. Ben will confirm if you need sedation for your treatment and give you an estimate for the treatment. Once you’ve decided to go ahead with treatment, we can schedule your appointment. Call us at 318-869-2593 for more details.