An impending visit to the dentist is enough to leave you nervous and fearful. Pain and anxiety are known obstacles when it comes to visiting a dentist. However, that is not the case for those who are familiar with dental sedation.
What is Dental Sedation?
Dental sedation involves the use of medication to achieve calmness and relaxation for dental patients undergoing various dental procedures. Not all sedation is meant to render you unconscious, as some will keep you awake and aware of what is going on, but in a relaxed and comfortable state. Sedation dentistry takes various forms, and each one of them has its fair share of upsides and downsides.
Types of Sedation
Below are the main options for sedation, together with their benefits, challenges, and potential side-effects.
Oral sedation is administered through the mouth in the form of pills such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, etc. This type of sedation can be minimal or moderate, depending on the dosage to be given. The pill is taken an hour before a dental procedure, making the patient groggy or sleepy but still conscious.
Moderate sedation can cause some patients to sleep through a dental procedure. Oral sedation works best in minimizing anxiety before and during a dental appointment. It is used when getting braces or pulling teeth, especially for younger anxious patients.
Benefits of Oral Sedation
- Less invasive as there are no needles involved
- It is easy to administer
- Patients have little to no memory of the procedure
Downsides of Oral Sedation
- May take time to be effective compared to other sedation methods such as IV sedation
- Complications can arise when other medications are involved
Side effects could include brain fog, dry mouth, and drowsiness.
This type of dentistry sedation is applicable in larger dental surgeries such as wisdom tooth extraction. A sedating drug is injected into the vein of a patient’s arm and the doctor adjusts it according to the level of sedation desired.
This strong form of dental anesthesia sends patients to sleep through the procedure. IV sedation is an ideal option for people who are nervous about needles and anything to do with dentistry. It also works well for complex root canals, extractions, and implant placements.
Benefits of IV Sedation
- Reduces pain and anxiousness by putting the patient to sleep
- The dentist carries out the procedure faster because the patient is completely relaxed
Downsides of IV Sedation
- Patients may take an hour or more to regain full consciousness after a procedure
- They may have to pay for IV sedation from their pocket because it is rarely covered by insurance
- May interact with other prescriptions
Side effects could include bruising at the injection site, headache, drowsiness, and nausea.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
This type of dental sedation is used in minor oral surgery and tooth cleaning. It involves a gas mask that is placed over the patient’s nose to facilitate gas inhalation. Nitrous Oxide offers conscious sedation since the patient is aware of the ongoing procedure, but relaxed enough not to feel any pain or uncomfortable sensations.
The gas administered to patients is easily adjusted by dentists and this makes this sedation process safe. Nitrous oxide serves well in apprehensive oral surgical procedures, root canals, teeth cleaning, or after invasive procedures that may result in infections.. It lessens dental fear or anxiety.
Benefits of Nitrous Oxide Sedation
- Wears off faster, leaving patients with zero hangover effect
- Easy to administer, since no patient preparation is required
- Rarely causes nausea or vomiting
Downsides of Nitrous Oxide Sedation
- Not all patients can breathe using a mask
- In rare cases, an overdose may cause dizziness and nausea
- Patients may hallucinate or daydream if deeply sedated
Side effects could include nausea, headache, and drowsiness.
Today’s Dental offers a range of sedation to their patients to improve their experience during dental procedures . Whether you’d like oral, IV sedation, or nitrous sedation, contact us for more guidance and information about our services.