As a sedation dentist, we make it possible for people to get dental work done that have been unable to visit the dentist. For a number of Americans, sedation dentistry, is the answer to a life-long fear of the dentist chair. Studies have shown that somewhere between 5% and 8% of Americans have never visited the dentist because they are afraid of the experience. There is no doubt that the fear is a legitimate one, and there are a number of theories why people are so afraid of oral procedures. One theory, that makes a lot of sense, is the helplessness many people feel while in the chair. Having a person hovering over you, with your mouth open to the point of being barely able to speak, can cause a great deal of anxiety for some people.
Luckily sedation dentistry has a solution to help ease some of the anxiety. By allowing our patients to select the level of sedation they want, we can provide them with an experience that is stress-free and still gets the dental work they need to be done. It is inaccurate to refer to sedation dentistry as “sleep dentistry”, a term that is relatively popular, because it is only in some cases that the patient is actually asleep. Much of the time the sedation is at the minimal levels, which allows us to take the edge off and ensure that you are comfortable.
You will need to make a number of decisions with regard to the level of sedation, you want, and need, and also the method of delivery. We will then advise you on the benefits and risks of each of the options, so that you have a complete understanding of sedation and how it works with dentistry. There are four levels of sedation that you can elect for. We will give advice and recommendations for each of these in conjunction with the procedure you are going to be getting.
Mild sedation is the most moderate form of sedation, typically administered using inhalation. A mask is placed over your nose and mouth, following which you will be asked to breathe normally. A solution of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, will be administered. Nitrous oxide causes you to relax and let go of excess anxiety during the procedure.
Moderate or conscious sedation is typically given using a pill. The sedation dentist can determine what level of sedation, you require, and work with an anesthesiologist to get you a pill that has the right level of anesthesia. Typically this kind of sedation does leave you with a heavy tongue and slightly drowsy.
Deep sedation sits somewhere between moderate sedation and full general anesthesia. Deep sedation puts you into a light sleep, from which you could easily be awakened. This allows you to be relatively unaware of the activity around you as we perform the oral work you need.
General anesthesia is the heaviest form of sedation and is typically associated with surgical procedures. Given through an IV, general anesthesia is monitored throughout the surgery and the levels can be adjusted constantly to ensure that patients remain asleep and comfortable.
If you want to learn more about the ways we can help you to relax, schedule an appointment at our sedation dentist office.