Have you been avoiding the dentist’s office because you are worried about the pain associated with the procedures you need? Millions of people across the globe avoid their dentist at all costs and would rather deal with a lifetime of discomfort and poor oral hygiene than make a half-hour visit to the dentist’s office. Why could this be? Well, the answer is simple; people are scared of what their dental professional has in store for them. Although rational, the common perception of today’s dental work is simply incorrect. When people hear about the need for dental work they automatically think about pain. However, many treatments in today’s dental industry are completely painless! Even though more and more people begin to realize this, many are still nervous about the procedures they require. This is when dentists can use sedation dentistry to ease the associated anxiety. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of sedation dentistry, what it is, and how it works.
The different levels of oral sedation
Oral sedation dentistry starts with entry-level, minimal sedation. The patient being awake yet relaxed defines entry-level minimal sedation. Moderate sedation, otherwise known as conscious sedation is the next progression. This level of sedation causes the patient to slur words and may even obscure memory. The third progression is deep sedation. This level of sedation puts the patient on the edge of consciousness with the ability to still be awakened. The last progression and the less common form of oral sedation is general anesthesia. General anesthesia involves the patient being completely unconscious.
The different types of oral sedation used by dentists
Inhaled minimal sedation: This type of sedation involves the patient inhaling nitrous oxide combined with oxygen (laughing gas) through a mask that is placed over the nose. The gas assists the patient with relaxation while the flow of gas is completely controlled by the dental professional. This is the only type of sedation where the patient may drive himself or herself home after treatment.
Oral sedation: Oral sedation can be used for minimal to moderate sedation, depending on the dosage. For minimal sedation, a pill may be taken. Typically, this will be a Halcion pill, part of the same family as Valium, and is taken one hour before the procedure. If the dosage is increased, the pill may be taken to achieve moderate sedation and will result in the patients becoming drowsy.
IV moderate sedation: IV moderate sedation involves a sedative drug being administered through a vein. It works quicker and the dental professional may continually adjust the level of sedation.
Deep sedation and general anesthesia: Deep sedation and general anesthesia are achieved by taking medication that will make the patient unconscious or on the brink of unconsciousness. Under general anesthesia, the patient may not be easily awakened.
If you fear the dentist or have worries about an upcoming treatment, ask your Vancouver dentist what types of sedation dentistry he or she practices and what kind might be right for you. Make your next trip to the dentist’s office more comfortable with sedation dentistry!