Dental sedation is a treatment used by dentists to calm patients during dental procedures. In other words, it entails using sedative medications to calm the patient’s nerves, reduce pain, and make the process more manageable.
There are three levels of dental sedation, minimal, moderate, and deep. Minimal sedation calms the patient, but they remain awake. In moderate sedation, the patient is awake but not fully conscious and won’t remember much of the procedure. In deep sedation, the patient is unconscious but can be woken up. The level of sedation used will depend on the complexity of the procedure and the patient’s needs.
Although dental sedation can benefit everyone, it’s mostly recommended for individuals with dental anxiety, fear of visiting the dentist, teeth sensitivity, and aichmophobia or intense fear of sharp objects. If you have these conditions, on site sedation providers can help calm you during your dental treatment.
Different Types Of Dental Sedation And What To Expect
There are different types of dental sedation. They vary depending on how they are administered to the patient and their side effects. The most common types of dental sedation include:
1. Oral Sedation
During this sedation, the dentist gives you medication as a pill one hour before the procedure. Oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate depending on the type of dose and the patient’s needs and response.
This sedation makes you feel groggy, and you may even fall asleep. Since oral sedation temporarily affects your motor skills and memory, dentists recommend having someone drive you home after the procedure.
2. Intravenous (IV) Sedation
IV sedation is the most profound form of conscious sedation. It entails administering IV medications to your bloodstream through an IV line. This allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation when needed. IV sedation makes you fall asleep and barely remember the procedure afterward. This sedation is recommended for people undergoing complex procedures or those with severe dental anxiety.
3. Nitrous Oxide/Laughing Gas
This is the mildest form of dental sedation. It involves inhaling nitrous oxide gas, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. This sedation type is used for minor procedures, and its effects subside once the gas is turned off. Once the procedure is complete, the dentist gives you oxygen to flush out nitrous oxide from your system. Once the gas is flushed out, there are no side effects, and you can drive home after the procedure.
4. General Anesthesia
This is a type of unconscious sedation, meaning a patient is completely asleep during the procedure. General anesthesia is reserved for extensive procedures such as tooth extraction. This sedation requires the doctor to have advanced training and experience as it requires careful monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.
Preparing For Dental Sedation
Before undergoing dental sedation, being mentally and physically prepared is crucial. First, talk to your dentist about the type of sedation they’ll use and what to expect during the procedure. The dentist will gather information about your health history, medications and supplements, and allergies. With this information, the dentist will recommend a sedation type that suits your needs.
Furthermore, arrange for transportation, as you might be unable to drive after the procedure. You can ask a friend or a family member to drive you after the procedure. After all, you need someone to stay with you for a few hours after the procedure to ensure you’re safe and comfortable.
Lastly, ensure to follow the doctor’s instructions on preparing for the procedure—for instance, avoiding eating foods or drinking alcohol for a certain period before and after the treatment.
Side Effects Of Dental Sedation
Although dental sedation helps manage anxiety and discomfort during dental procedures, there are potential side effects patients should be aware of. Though minor, side effects vary depending on the form of sedation used. The most common side effects include:
- Drowsiness: This is the most common side effect of dental sedation, primarily oral and IV sedation. You may feel sleepy or dizzy for a few hours after the procedure.
- Nausea: Some patients experience nausea and vomiting after dental sedation. This is more common with nitrous oxide sedation.
- Headache And Dizziness: Headaches and dizziness are also among the sides effect associated with dental sedation. They are usually mild and short-lived but can be more severe in exceptional cases.
- Memory Loss: Sedation can also cause temporary memory loss or difficulty creating new memories. This side effect is common in more profound levels of sedation like oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.
Generally, these side effects are usually mild and temporary, meaning they can be managed by rest and over-the-counter medications.
The Bottom Line
If you’re about to go through dental sedation for your upcoming procedure, this guide will help you know what to expect. Just be sure to discuss your options with your dentist. The dentist will help you choose a sedation type that suits your needs and answer any questions about the procedure.
Author’s bio: Victoria Wade is a dental hygienist who also writes guest posts and blog articles about common dental concerns. She would love it if everyone will be comfortable in the dental chair. During her free time, she tries to create recipes with her favorite ingredient: raisins.
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