Sedation dentistry is a practice that can help assuage your apprehension and nervousness. In the United States, nearly 100 million people skip going to the dentist every year. Fear of sitting in the dreaded dental chair is a significant reason that people play hookey on their oral health. To keep that from happening, it's important to familiarize yourself with the options in sedation dentistry. We've got you covered.
Simply put, sedation dentistry is the controlled administration of medications that allow patients to relax during dental operations, regardless of procedural intensity. Some people are so scared of the dentist, they'll choose to be lightly sedated for something as casual as an annual check-up. Meanwhile heavier sedation can be chosen for invasive surgical procedures. It differs case by case, but here's the general scoop.
- Minimally sedated: This level of sedation is the most common. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is administered at levels that can be adjusted by the dentist during the procedure. The effects are relaxing and will wear off relatively quickly after the procedure concludes. You're conscious but relaxed. Similarly, pills in the benzodiazepine family may be administered to produce similar effects.
- Moderately sedated: Intreveinously administered sedation at this level is fast acting, but still keeps the patient partially conscious, but the dentist can monitor and adjust sedation level.
- Deeply sedated: Deep sedation sometimes calls for a dental anesthesiologist because it leaves the patient either fully unconscious or very close. This is generally for more major oral surgeries, but can still be requested for minor procedures.
Of all these types of sedation, we can't leave out numbing local anesthesia. Combined with general anesthesia, local anesthesia numbs the physical site of the dental procedure. Any way you cut it, sedation is always an option during dental visits. Fear of the chair is extremely common, but we're here to make you as comfortable as possible. Don't sacrifice your dental health out of oral anxiety. Discover your options and your smile will thank you.