Dental sedation is a safe procedure that dentists use to help people relax during a multitude of dental treatments. As such it’s revolutionized the way many patients now view dental visits, especially those who feel anxiety or fear. Ultimately this means that any patients afraid of even the most routine of dental procedures can now visit the dentist with a degree of confidence.
Dental sedation is also sometimes referred to as ‘sleep dentistry’ although this isn’t entirely accurate, because with the exception of general anesthesia, patients normally remain awake throughout the duration of a treatment. There are several levels of sedation and these include
Minimal sedation – Where patients are fully awake but in a relaxed state
Moderate sedation – Where patients are fully relaxed and awake, but don’t recall much about the procedure (this is also called conscious sedation). In this state, patients may slur their words as if they’re drunk and this is perfectly normal
Deep sedation – This is where patients remain awake but are on the edge of consciousness
General anesthesia – Patients who are administered with a general anesthetic remain completely unconscious.
For the majority of dental treatments patients remain in the minimal to moderate category and here at Chesterfield Dentistry, we use two types of dental sedation to achieve this These are
Let’s take a look at each one in turn…
This is a minimal sedative that’s inhaled through the nose via a tiny nose clip. Patients breath in a combination of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and pure oxygen. The advantages of this type of sedative are that firstly it acts with immediate effect. Patients feel calm, relaxed, and carefree right away, so there’s no waiting around for it to ‘take effect’. In addition the amount of NOS can be carefully controlled so patients are assured of the correct dosage. Secondly, it wears off a quickly as it takes hold, so patients won’t feel woozy or light-headed in any way and can even drive home if they wish. Finally, because it’s administered via inhalation it doesn’t involve the use of dental injections, so it’s particularly good for those with a dental phobia for needles. Above all, it’s safe, effective, and proven to work.
Generally speaking oral sedation is used to place patients in a state of relaxation ranging from minimal to moderate and is typically administered orally via a pill. Just like NOS, it’s a safe treatment and the pill used is a member of the Valium family. It’s designed to make the patient feel drowsy and in a relaxed state and is normally taken 1 hour prior to treatment. A larger dose may be administered to place people in a more moderate state of relaxation. In some cases it’s natural for people to fall asleep during treatment, but they can easily be woken. Unlike NOS, oral sedatives do stay in the system for a few hours after treatment and therefore patients should never drive themselves home. In fact we recommend that patients be accompanied by another person to ensure they get home safe and sound.
Should I opt for sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry covers a whole spectrum of treatments and your eligibility for sedation will depend upon factors such as age, health, and other medications. That said, if you do feel nervous or anxious about any treatment, then talk to us.
What can I expect when I’m sedated?
This does depend on what degree of conscious state you’re in but in the majority of instances patients will usually be aware of their surroundings, but feel relaxed and carefree. In some cases (usually those in a moderate state) patients won’t remember the treatment at all, although they will remain awake.
Is it safe?
Absolutely yes! Here at Chesterfield Dentistry dental sedation is only delivered by experienced personnel and patients’ doses are carefully controlled. What’s more, all patients are monitored continually throughout the duration of their treatment.
If you suffer with dental fear or anxiety, don’t worry you’re not alone. In the US it’s thought that as many as one in three people suffer with some type of dental anxiety. If you have any concerns regarding any type of dental treatment, come and talk to Dr Akinwande and the team. We’re your caring dentist so call us on (314) 469 6429 and talk to us about your concerns.