Sedation dentistry may be the answer you’re looking for if you suffer from dental-related anxiety. Millions of Americans put off trips to the dentist because of unease about the experience. Modern sedation therapy allows these people to relax throughout the procedure so they can get the care they need worry-free.

The Four Types of Dental Sedation

Four types of sedation are typically used throughout dental treatment. These include:

  1. Minimal sedation. The patient remains awake but feels relaxed and at ease. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is one example of this approach.
  2. Moderate or “conscious” sedation. Think of this as being drowsy. You may remember part of the procedure but will probably rest through most of it. An oral sedation dentist is qualified to use this method.
  3. Deep sedation. This is like the way you feel just before you fall asleep at night. You’re dozing and inattentive but can be awakened if necessary. This approach uses an IV sedation dentistry solution that is constantly monitored by the dentist.
  4. General anesthesia. This is the deepest and most relaxed state of dental sedation. Think of it as being in a deep state of sleep. The dental staff will be at your side throughout the procedure to ensure your well-being. This approach is most commonly used with advanced types of oral surgery such as implant placement. It can involve IV solutions, oral medications or a combination of the two.

How to Ensure a Successful Sedation Experience

Dental sedation is remarkably safe when performed by a qualified medical professional. Dentists who use sedation have completed extensive training to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being. Here’s how to ensure your comfort and confidence during the treatment session:

  • Discuss your medical history with your dentist prior to the procedure. He or she will need to know about any medications you take and any conditions you may have. Those who are significantly overweight or who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may require special considerations.
  • Share any concerns you may have about the process with the dentist ahead of time. In some cases, such as procedures that take an extended amount of time, your dentist may work hand-in-hand with the dental anesthesiologist. This is a medical professional who specializes in administering sedation.

Who Can Benefit from Sedation

We’ve already mentioned that sedation is a good option for those who suffer from dental-related anxiety. It may also be of benefit in any of these cases:

  • When the patient has a low pain threshold or has sensitive teeth. Sedation can minimize any chance of these patients suffering from discomfort during the procedure.
  • When the patient is naturally fidgety or has trouble sitting still in the dentist’s chair.
  • When the patient has a pronounced gag reflex. Sedation can suppress this reaction just enough to ensure a successful treatment.
  • When the patient’s condition requires extensive care. Sometimes it’s better to just let the patient sleep through long, involved procedures.

Dental sedation is a safe, effective way to get the oral health care you need free of fears and unease. Ask your dentist about this option during your next appointment. You’ll look back on the decision with plenty of reasons to smile.

About the Author

Dr. Paresh B. Patel earned his DDS degree from the University of Tennessee. He has practiced general dentistry for more than 15 years and has received advanced training in pediatric and surgical procedures. You can reach his office online or by calling (469) 362-3150.

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