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What is Sedation Dentistry?

By Alicia Green on October 29, 2018

When you think of a dental appointment you usually don’t think of an easy, relaxing, experience. Most people associate the dentist with pain and agony due to a negative past experience. It is estimated that, “80% of Americans have some degree of anxiety regarding dental treatment and 5-14% of them feel intense dental anxiety.” Dental anxiety or phobia just leads to more complications for patients. “It is confirmed that anxious patients have more decayed, missing and less filled in teeth in comparison to non anxious patients.” Instead of letting your oral health slip due to anxiety let the dentists at Stubbs Dental help you relax and receive the dental treatment you need.

What is sedation?

Sedation dentistry allows an anxious patient to enter a very relaxed, dream like state. While still being conscious time will seem to move faster for the patient and the patient may even experience amnesia like effects. This will also allow the doctor to work faster and get more done during the procedure.

Who can be sedated?

Patients who identify with the following may benefit from some form of sedation during their dental visit:

  • Experience moderate to severe dental phobia
  • Have highly sensitive teeth and gums
  • Do not respond well to traditional numbing techniques
  • Have avoided the dentist for years due to dental anxiety
  • Are undergoing multiple procedures at the same time
  • Have a fear of dental drills, needles, and other instruments
  • Are undergoing oral surgery, including dental implants or All-on-4®

Levels of sedation

Minimal: You’re relaxed and awake.

Moderate: You’re sleepy but awake.

Deep: You’re barely awake. General anesthesia: You’re unconscious.

Types of sedation

Inhaled sedation- More commonly known as nitrous oxide or laughing gas. The patient inhales this gas to achieve a level of minimal sedation. The doctor can easily adjust the amounts administered and the gas wears off quickly. This a good option for patients who need to be able to drive themselves home or back to work after their appointment. Stubbs Dental offers free nitrous oxide to all of our patients!

Oral sedation- Oral sedation is used to achieve minimal to moderate sedation levels. An oral medication will be prescribed before the procedure begins. The patient will then become drowsy and very relaxed. Depending on the dosage some patients will even achieve such a relaxed state that they will fall asleep. However, they can be easily awoken with a gentle shake.

IV Sedation- Also known as intravenous sedation, this is used to achieve moderate to deep levels of sedation. Drugs are administered to the patient through an IV drip through a vein, usually located in the arm or hand. The doctor can easily adjust the amount of medication making sure that the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure.

General anesthesia- Also administered through an IV and sometimes a gas mask the patient will become unconscious during the entire procedure. The patient will be closely monitored throughout to ensure no complications arise. The patient will not wake up until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off or they have been reserved with another medication.

If you would like to learn even more about sedation dentistry or want to talk about sedation for your next dental appointment give Stubbs Dental a call.

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