A Patient’s Guide to Sedation Dentistry
Alternative Dental Practices for People Suffering From Dental Fear
Sedation dentistry was developed to help people whose fear and anxiety of dental procedures, or “dental fear”, is so extreme that it causes them to avoid receiving regular care, avoid dealing with dental problems until they are severe, and in some cases avoid receiving any dental care from their local dentist in downtown Vancouver. All dental practitioners agree that maintaining overall dental health and addressing dental problems as soon as possible are the keys to having a healthy mouth, and for avoiding painful and expensive dental procedures. Therefore, dental fear is a serious problem for some people that only gets worse as their dental health deteriorates.
Fortunately, dental practitioners have identified this problem, and have developed sedation dentistry as a response. Below is a brief guide containing all of the information necessary for determining if sedation dentistry is right for you.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is known by a number of different names: sleep dentistry, conscious sedation, oral sedation and relaxation dentistry. However, the general dental practices involved are largely the same. The dental staff ensure that the patient’s pain and anxiety is controlled so that they can undergo the entire procedure in a comfortable, calm and stress-free way. Patients are kept just below the level of consciousness during the entire procedure so that the dental staff can perform all the necessary operations in a safe and efficient way. An added benefit of sedation dentistry is that it allows the dental staff to perform procedures more quickly than they would on fully conscious patients, which means shorter visits and less visits to the dentist’s office in general.
What is the Difference between Conscious Sedation and General Anesthesia?
General anesthesia causes a patient to be completely unconscious and unable to respond in any form. On the other hand, under conscious sedation the patient can still breathe normally and respond to questions, but will experience no pain and will have little or no memory of the procedure once full consciousness is regained.
What Are the Various Types of Sedation Dentistry?
General sedation dentistry is administered in three different ways.
Inhalation Sedation: Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, is inhaled through a mask that is placed on the patient’s mouth and from which they breathe regularly. The gas works quickly to block out all sensation of pain, and the patient will experience no after-effects from the drug once the procedure is complete.
Oral Sedation: This method delivers the medication in pill form, where one pill is usually taken the night before the visit and then another directly before the actual procedure itself. This medication provides a calm and drowsy effect that substantially lessens anxiety.
IV Sedation: This method delivers medication directly into the bloodstream, which quickly places the patient in a state of total relaxation and causes full or partial memory loss of the entire procedure.
How Safe Is Sedation Dentistry?
Under all forms of sedation dentistry the patient’s vital signs are monitored to ensure that they are kept perfectly healthy and safe. All dental staff performing sedation dentistry undergo rigorous training related to sedation techniques and safety, so there is no concern about patient safety. Sedation dentistry practices are now routine around the world, and it is considered extremely safe by the entire dental profession.