Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding the common apprehension known as dental phobia.
Sedation is a process used to establish a relaxed, easy and calm state through the use of sedatives. Sedative drugs (tranquillizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications, nitrous oxide, etc.) can be administered in a variety of ways.
IV sedation is both safe and effective when administered by a trained professional. Oral sedation dentistry is now the most common technique used in the United States and Canada to quell patient fears. The technique is easy and requires no needles.
Regardless of the type of sedation dentistry you receive, it is important to have a responsible caregiver accompany you to the procedure (and drive you there if you must take oral medication before arriving for your appointment). The caregiver should drive you home after the procedure is complete and stay with you for an additional two to four hours at home.
The 3 most common forms of sedation on offer are:
- Inhalation sedation (also known as “laughing gas”, “happy gas”, nitrous oxide, “gas and air”, relative analgesia)
- Oral sedation (anti-anxiety pills or a liquid)
- Intravenous (IV) sedation (drugs administered into the blood-stream through a vein – that’s what “intravenous” stands for)
Benefits of sedation dentistry
- Patients with a history of abuse are less likely to cooperate during dental treatment, and may need some form of sedation.
- Even if you have no dental phobias, you can still benefit from sedation when you have to undergo a procedure that can be extremely painful, including gum surgery.
- Some people can also have unusually located nerves, making it difficult for a dentist to work through administering a local anesthetic.
- Under certain forms of sedation – like IV sedation, which causes memory loss – you are less likely to remember anything about the procedure.
The disadvantage is that you need escorted home and watched for at least the next 6 hrs.