When Sedation Dentistry is the Best Choice

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When Sedation Dentistry is the Best Choice

Not everyone needs to be sedated when they visit the dentist, but for a portion of the population, sedation dentistry is the only way they can get critical dental work done. Estimates indicate that as many as 9 to 15 percent of all Americans avoid going to the dentist because of fear. Since oral health is so critical to overall health, avoiding the dentist because of a dental phobia could cause significant harm over time.

Understanding Sedation Dentistry

As the name would indicate, sedation dentistry is having dental procedures performed while under the influence of drugs that increase calmness or induce a state of relaxation. For someone who is unable to have dental procedures performed without these drugs, this can be a critically important part of the oral health process that allows them to get the treatment they need without the fear, anxiety, and stress. There are several types of sedation that you can choose from, including:

  • Nitrous gas administered through a mask, which allows you to remain conscious throughout the procedure, and wears off quickly after the gas flow stops so you can return to normal activities following an appointment
  • Oral sedation pills taken the night before or day of your dental visit; you’ll remain semi-conscious and able to breathe on your own, but you will remember little from the visit and will not be able to drive yourself home from the appointment
  • Intravenous moderate sedation administered (as the name suggests) through an IV is the strongest option available, and will provide the highest level of relaxation throughout your visit; it will also require a ride home as the effects wear off gradually following your appointment
  • Intravenous deep sedation is virtually the same as what you would experience during a surgical procedure, where you are almost or completely unconscious and cannot be easily awakened until the effects wear off

When to Use Sedation Dentistry

Not everyone needs sedation dentistry, but for those whose fear of the dentist is so severe that it gets in the way of normal checkups, sedation is often the best choice. If you or a family member has been putting off going to the dentist and has significant oral health needs, it makes sense to choose sedation as an option. For someone who is generally comfortable with the dentist’s visit, but who might be worried about needles, pain and discomfort, or the sounds of tools used in dental offices, a lower-level sedation may help that person relax.

For those whose phobia is so extreme they are unable to even go into the dentist’s office without experiencing a high level of anxiety, oral or intravenous sedation are often going to be the best choice. This is especially true if you have severe pain or decay that has gone for a long time without treatment. IV sedation will allow the person to get through the visit with little or no awareness of the procedure while it’s happening and virtually no recognition of what happened afterwards.

Another situation when sedation might make sense is for someone who has a physical disability that makes it difficult for that person to remain comfortably in a chair for long periods of time.

If you think sedation dentistry would be beneficial or you’ve avoided the dentist because of a fear of what might happen, call Caring Smiles Dental Clinic today.