What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry

Sedation dentistry offers comfort to those individuals who struggle with moderate to severe anxiety regarding dental exams or procedures. Does the mere thought of having your teeth cleaned make your muscles tense with dread? Would you rather live with the intense pain associated with a toothache for the rest of your life, than even step foot in a dentist office? Well, you can rest assured that you are not alone. There are many individuals nationwide that suffer from such severe anxiety about dental cleanings, exams or procedures that they will defer treatment all together in order to avoid having to undergo the stress associated with the dentist office.

Sedation offers those patients suffering from anxiety about their dental visit added comfort in that the sedation effects removes the heavy burden of anxiety for the patient. Sedation dentistry can be used for nearly all procedures in dentistry – from a routine cleaning to a more complex surgical procedure.

What Is Sedation?

Sedation is the techniques used to achieve a relaxed, calm and easy state through the use of sedatives. Sedative drugs aimed at making the patient more comfortable can be administered through a variety of ways. In the past IV sedation – or sedation that is administered through the use of an intravenous needle – was the most common form of sedation offered to dental patients. However, today’s advances in dental technology have led to many alternative options with regards to sedation administration.

Today, dental patients have options when it comes to sedation dentistry. The age old IV sedation is still widely used and preferred among some dental professional, but there is also the “no needle” forms of sedation that include oral sedation and inhalation sedation. Oral sedation is the most common form of sedation used in dentistry today as it offers apprehensive patients a no needle form of relaxation and comfort. Additionally, it often relaxes the body and mind so much that the patient likely will not remember the stress of the experience. As a patient undergoing oral sedation, it will feel as though you may have slept through the procedure, however a certain level of consciousness is maintained throughout the procedure.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

There are four types of sedation used by sedation dentists today. They include nitrous oxide sedation, IV sedation, oral sedation and general anesthesia.

Nitrous oxide sedation refers to a form of conscious sedation that is achieved through the inhalation of nitrous oxide – also sometimes referred to as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is used to induce a state of relaxation within the patient. Depending the procedure, it might be used in conjunction with a local anesthetic that will be used in an effort to numb any pain that may come about as a result of the procedure.

Intravenous (IV) sedation is used as a method in which to relax or sedate the patient. IV sedation does not offer pain relief and so it must also be administered in conjunction with a local anesthetic. IV sedation offers dentists and oral surgeons the opportunity to fluctuate the dose of sedative during a procedure if necessary.

Oral sedation may be given to the patient 30 minutes before, all the way up to the night before the dental procedure, depending on the severity of the anxiety experienced. Oral sedation offers relaxation benefits to the patient that makes them more comfortable during the dental procedure. However, oral sedatives so not contain any type of pain reliever and so if necessary, it will also be administered along with a local anesthetic injection.

General anesthesia is used in dental procedures that require the patient to be unconscious. Unlike the other three types of sedation dentistry, when general anesthesia is used the patient will be completely unconscious and completely unaware of their surroundings or the procedure being undergone. Therefore, when general anesthesia is used there is no need for the administration of local anesthesia for pain relief.

Degrees of Dental Sedation

Any of the above mentioned four types of sedation may be provided using different degrees of sedation. The different degrees of sedation used by dentists include:

Anxiolysis – This type of sedation is commonly referred to as “light sedation.” Many different types of sedation can be used in order to achieve a light sedation, but among the available options nitrous oxide sedation is the most commonly used at this level.

Conscious sedation – Conscious sedation refers to a state of sedation where the patient will be conscious and still able to respond to commands, however, they will be in an extreme state of contentment and relaxation. Both nitrous oxide and IV sedation are commonly used to achieve this state of sedation.

Deep sedation – This type of sedation refers to the level of sedation between conscious and unconscious, where the patient will be able to respond to commands but not in a consistent or reliable manner. The patient will have no recollection of the procedure or experience. General anesthesia is used to achieve this state of sedation.

Call Progressive Dental Care Center today for your dental needs. They will consult with you to determine what type of types of sedation is the right fit for you and your dental needs which will help put you at ease when sitting in the dental chair.

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