Does the thought of having your teeth cleaned give you anxiety? Do you put off visiting your Danbury dentist because you fear sitting in the chair? Guess what, you’re not alone! A lot of patients hesitate when calling a dentist to schedule their next appointment. At Rolling Hills Dentistry, we understand that not everyone is comfortable visiting their local dentist, so we offer sedation dentistry services to help alleviate the stress.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses a sedative drug to help patients relax during dental procedures. It’s sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although that’s not entirely accurate. Patients are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia or nitrous oxide.
There are a couple of different levels of sedation which include:
- Minimal sedation – you’re awake but relaxed.
- Moderate sedation – you may slur your words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.
- Deep sedation – you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
- General anesthesia – you are completely unconscious.
What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?
The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:
- Inhaled minimal sedation. You breathe nitrous oxide – otherwise known as “laughing gas” – combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The ultimate goal is to help you relax. The dentist will control the amount of laughing gas you receive, and it tends to wear off quickly. You ca typically drive yourself home after this procedure, unless your Danbury Ct dentist specifies otherwise.
- Oral sedation. Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
- IV moderate sedation. You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia. You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious — deeply asleep — during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.
Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you’ll also typically need a local anesthetic — numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth — to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.
Is it Safe?
There is always a risk in getting anesthesia. It is usually safe, though, when given by experienced dentists. However, certain people, such as those who are obese or who have obstructive sleep apnea, should talk to their doctor before having sedation. So, it’s important to consult with your dentist before electing to proceed with sedation dentistry.