For many, visiting the dentist can be a stressful experience, if not severely overwhelming, for those with phobias like claustrophobia or a fear of dentist offices. There are many different types of sedation that a patient and dentist can decide on for a procedure, depending on the invasiveness of the procedure, the comfort of the patient, and the dentist’s suggestion.
Types of Dental Sedation
While sedation dentistry may seem self-explanatory to some, others may be confused about the details involved. What is sedation dentistry, and what are the benefits of sedation dentistry?
This option is the least dramatic when it comes to a patient’s ability to recover and return to everyday life with little or no grogginess. Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is administered by having the patient inhale the gas. It can be flushed out of the patient’s system just as easily by administering oxygen in the same way. This is an excellent option for those with only minor anxiety or sensitivity with respect to dental procedures.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is primarily provided in pill form approximately an hour before the procedure. There will typically be an appointment or allotted time to decide what type of sedation will work best to alleviate stress, anxiety, and pain.
Some examples of medication a dentist will provide to sedate the patient are:
- Triazolam (Halcion®)
- Midazolam oral syrup (liquid sedation in pediatric dentistry)
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
Lengthy dental procedures and/or extreme dental anxiety and fear can easily call for intravenous sedation, where the medication is administered directly into the bloodstream. This is the most intense type of sedation as it renders the patient unconscious and allows little to no memory formation of the procedure itself. The dentist and available dental assistants monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen during the procedure. Sedation administered this way can be adjusted as needed, posing no threat to short or long-term health.
Who Is Sedation For?
When considering sedation dentistry, it may be much easier to recognize who could benefit from it. Below are several conditions that, if experienced, could easily benefit from sedation dentistry in one way or another.
- Dental anxiety
- An overly sensitive gag reflex
- Extreme teeth sensitivity
- Feelings of claustrophobia while in the dental chair
- Decreased sensitivity to local anesthesia
- Special needs (including physical, cognitive, or behavioral)
While the benefits greatly outnumber the side effects of sedation, patients may still have questions as to what to expect after the sedation has worn off. These side effects primarily deal with oral and intravenous sedation, as they are more integrated into the bloodstream and more challenging to filter from the system. A few short-term side effects may include:
- Lingering drowsiness
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bruising from the IV
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
When asking what sedation dentistry is, it’s important to remember the benefits of sedation dentistry as well. For those who experience discomfort with dental appointments, especially for more involved procedures, sedation may be an excellent way to ensure that oral and dental hygiene are adequately taken care of without causing distress.
Let Wambaugh Dentistry Ease Your Dental Anxiety
Anxiety, pain management, and disabilities are not unknown to the dental team at Wambaugh Dental. We are committed to giving every patient the best experience when providing dental care. Call 281.501.7849 to make an initial intake appointment and inquire about the potential options of sedation dentistry. We will devise a treatment plan for whatever procedure is needed for a healthy mouth and a happy experience. We look forward to learning how we can help.