Published on April 22, 2019, Updated on August 28, 2020
It’s not a secret that there are some people are not that comfortable when it comes to going to the dentist. In some cases, this fear often hinders them from getting dental care or even emergency care. To make it worse, other patients would often choose to not go inunless their case is already very serious. This overwhelming fear usually causes people to neglect their appointments which may further increase the risk of developing various problems like tooth decay, gum disease and so on.
Fortunately for these types of patients there is still hope. It’s called Sedation Dentistry. This process helps patients to get past their anxiety, fears and uncomfortable feeling during their dental visit.
What is Sedation dentistry?
Sedation Dentistry involves a combination of methods which include conscious sedation to sleep dentistry. Sedatives are used to keep the patient relaxed and comfortable while undergoing any dental procedure. Using this method, the dentist is able to work freely on the patient without worrying whether they are feeling uncomfortable or anxious.
Conscious sedation enables the patient to feel at ease almost immediately, without them losing consciousness. This means they are still able to answer questions from the doctor, although the patient may not remember some of these instances clearly.
On the other hand, sleep dentistry involves putting the patient under a ‘sleep-like’ state. This would require constant heart rate monitoring and assisted breathing by an anesthesiologist.
Let’s learn about the difference between these two methods below.
What types are there?
- Conscious Sedation
- Laughing Gas – This kind of sedative is guaranteed safe and effective. It works quickly and is easily tolerated by the body. Plus, its non-allergic and can be easily adjusted or even reversed. Using the laughing gas, the patient remains fully conscious — able to respond to questions. Sometimes, this can be used with other sedatives.
- IV Conscious Sedation – Also used to help calm the patient, relieve anxiety and reduce discomfort, this method utilizes different medications that will be administered through the patient’s bloodstream (IV). Once given, the patient will experience a state of deep relaxation and may even feel sleepy. However, they will not become completely unconscious and their airway reflexes remain responsive. While sedated, the patient will lose their nervousness and may not even recall much about what’s happening during their treatment.
- Oral Conscious Sedation – Helps to reduce anxiety, this one is usually prescribed by the doctor and comes in a pill or liquid form that patients will have to take before their treatment. Similar to the IV sedation, this one also causes drowsiness. Since they’re drowsy, they won’t feel anxious or nervous anymore during the treatment. This method may sometimes be referred to as the ‘enteral sedation’ and is oftentimes used together with laughing gas.
- Anesthesia Wand – a modern type of sedative, this one is a computer controlled local anesthesia injection, which is administered via a pen-like device. It’s recommended to patients who have needle phobias or serious anxiety attacks. Before the tiny needle is inserted, the computer would first deliver a tiny amount of anesthetic so the injection area is already numb before the actual needle penetration therefore making the entire procedure virtually painless. Afterwards, the computer will then provide an accurate, consistent amount of anesthesia, which is automatically adjusted for tissue density and location.
- Sleep Dentistry
- General Anesthesia – this process uses certain medications that will be directly inserted into the patient’s bloodstream, causing the patient to become unconscious and fall asleep during the entire procedure. This can also be used together with a gaseous anesthetic. While sedated, the patient will not remember anything while they’re unconscious. Patients will need some time to recover from this process before they can be allowed to leave the clinic.
Regardless of the type of sedation, you’ll receive, you’ll typically need a local anesthetic. These are numbing medications that dental experts use to relieve the pain if the procedure causes discomfort.
Can anyone perform sedation?
Most specialists administer minimal sedation either by the use of nitrous oxide or pills. Other experts can administer moderate sedation. But only a small percentage of them have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in general anesthesia and deep sedation to perform such complex techniques. Some of these specialists use anesthesiologists, who are trained to administer all levels of sedation for both children or adults.
Who can benefit?
Sedation dentistry is highly beneficial for patients who have:
- Dental anxiety issues
- Phobias – needles, pain, blood or seeing dental tools
- Dental issues that will require prolonged treatment or surgery
- Serious (bad) gag reflex
- Physical disability or those with special health needs
- TMJ pain or low pain tolerance
- Anxiety issues or discomfort regarding closed spaces
- Enables patients to overcome their fear and anxiety
- Enables patients to finish their treatment within a single appointment rather than returning again for another because the specialist wasn’t able to work freely due to the patient’s anxiety and other issues.
- Enables younger patients to get treated painlessly therefore establishing a good relationship between them and their expert. No more fears and anxiety issues.
- Prevents any traumatic experiences for the patient as well as their provider.
To ensure the safety of their patients, the specialist will need to review their medical and dental history and take a comprehensive physical assessment before choosing what kind of sedative to use.
If the patient is found to be suffering from any of these medical conditions: cardiac disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases or hypertension, the expert would require them to get medical clearance from their attending physician. In addition, since sedatives would cause temporary drowsiness or sleepiness, it is highly advisable that patients would have someone to accompany them or drive them home after the treatment.
Caring For The Community of Frisco, TX
Fears and anxieties should not keep us from visiting our dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups or immediately as soon as we feel pain in our mouth. Thanks to sedation dentistry, patients can now have the perfect smile that everyone wants without the fear, discomfort and anxiety. We offer laughing gas, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation to provide a comfortable, anxiety-free experience while we care for your teeth.
Our expert dentists will take care of you. Using modern dentistry techniques, they’ll make sure that your overall dental experience will be comfortable and pain-free. Make an appointment with us today or visit our clinic in Frisco, TX, just minutes from The Colony and Prosper.
Dr. George’s Dental Affiliations
Dr. George is highly educated and experienced in providing dental care. She provides the dental care you and your family need to reach healthy smiles. Read Dr. George’s full bio…