Even though most of the time a dentist’s visit normally ends with a check-up and a teeth clean, most people like to push the appointment back as long as possible. This is mainly because there is this inner feeling that all dentists’ appointments are going to end up a painful experience. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all and there are many ways that your dentist will ensure you don’t feel any anxiety whatever dental treatment you are receiving.
Sedation comes in many forms
Sedation is the main method used to ensure your dental experience is both anxiety and pain free. It is possible to use it for less invasive treatments like teeth cleaning and for more invasive procedures like tooth extractions and fillings. What sort of method is used depends on how severe your fear is.
Sedation dentistry makes use of medication which helps a patient relax throughout the duration of the treatment.
There are several levels of sedation as follows:
- minimal sedation, which keeps you awake but you feel relaxed;
- moderate sedation, which will result in you slurring your words and you won’t be able to recall much about the event;
- deep sedation, which takes you to the brink of consciousness but it is easy for you to fully awaken;
- general anaesthesia causes you to lose consciousness completely.
The types of sedation techniques used for dentistry
Minimal inhaling sedation is when you breathe in nitrous oxide, which is sometimes called “laughing gas”. It is combined using a mask with oxygen that’s positioned over your nose and it’s the gas that is the source of the relaxation. Your dentist will control how much of the product you will receive and once it’s switched off, the effect wears off quite quickly so you can drive yourself home afterwards.
Oral sedation has a range of effects too, starting at the minimal effect where you are given a pill to take one hour before treatment commences. This is typically Halcion, a member of the of the Valium family of drugs. This pill won’t put you to sleep but you will feel a little drowsy. A bigger dose has the same effects as moderate sedation. This form of anaesthesia is most usually associated to sedation dentistry.
IV moderate sedation isn’t a pill but is a sedative fed into a vein which works more quickly.
Deeper sedation with general anaesthesia is a medication which will make you almost unconscious or completely unconscious. While under general anaesthesia, you can’t be awakened easily until wearing off of the medication has taken place.
Sedation is basically designed to relax you and enables your dentist to get on with treatment uninterrupted. However, depending on the likely level of pain your dentist will still use a numbing product which will be placed on the area where the treatment is to take place.
Starting sedation for the first time
It’s important you discuss sedation options with your dentist first to make sure that you are a suitable candidate. You should be given a form that tells you about any risks associated with sedation treatment.