Is Sedation Dentistry Right for me?

There are so many people that dislike having dental procedures for various reasons. Maybe they don’t like the pain that they may feel. Or maybe they don’t like feeling discomfort after their dental procedure. Sedation dentistry can help patients to feel more relaxed during their dental procedure, but some may wonder if it is the right choice for them.

Different Types of Sedation

During sedation dentistry, the dentist will give a drug to the patient during the dental procedure. General anesthesia is the only type of sedation that will make the patient completely unconscious. Other forms of sedation will make the patient relax but won’t completely knock them out.

The three common types of sedation dentistry include:

  • Oral sedatives- Oral sedatives are given such as diazepam, but can also help the patient to relax during dental work. Normally, they are taken at least an hour prior to your appointment. You will not be as anxious, although you will be fully awake. When the medication wears off, you may feel tired.
  • Nitrous oxide- This is a gas that relaxes you during your dental work. It does wear off rather fast, so you may be allowed to drive home after the procedure.
  • Intravenous sedatives- Sometimes intravenous sedatives are given that can put you in different stages of consciousness. This is also considered general anesthesia and will put you into a deep state of unconsciousness until it wears off. There are other drugs available that will put you into a “twilight sleep” which means you will be sleepy, and less aware of your surroundings. You may not even recall much of your procedure once it wears off.
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How does dental sedation work?

The process of sedation depends on the dentist that you choose. You will benefit from good practices if you choose the best sedation dentistry. If the dentist will be giving you an oral sedative, you will be written a prescription along with instructions on how to take it. You will experience an increase in relaxation and a reduction in anxiety if you follow your dentist’s instructions.

There is no preparation needed on your behalf if you are given nitrous oxide. Your dentist will give it to your before, during, and right after your procedure. If your dentist thinks you need an IV sedation, you may be prepared for that in advance. For example, you may be asked not to drink or eat anything for a few hours leading up to your appointment. Certain medications may also need to be taken the day before your appointment since they can interfere with sedation medication.

Do I need sedation dentistry?

Patients who believe they need to be sedated for their dental procedure do so because of different reasons such as:

  • General anxiety disorder
  • Bad experiences with past dental procedures
  • Dental work phobias
  • Resistance to local anesthetic
  • Sensitive oral nerves
  • Small mouth that gets sore during a dental procedure

If you can relate to any of these problems, you may want to consider asking your dentist to sedate you. Dental sedation can help you get through various types of dental procedures including tooth extractions, root canals, and even dental implants. Normally, it is not given for regular cleaning, routine care, or X-rays. However, there are patients that suffer from extreme anxiety that may cause a dentist to sedate them even for minor procedures.

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If you are experiencing anxiety or have concerns about an upcoming dental procedure, you should ask your dentist about sedation. If this is an option, you may be more willing to go to your appointment and have the work completed. Also, you will not have to worry about recurring dental issues that can cause discomfort.