Sedation Dentistry: Frequently Asked Questions | Renovo Endodontic Studio

Sedation Dentistry: Frequently Asked Questions

Sedation Dentistry: Frequently Asked Questions

It is estimated that around 30 million to 40 million individuals in the United States fear dental visits. If you are amongst this group, your anxiety might be keeping you from getting the regular dental care you need. This can lead to several potentially devastating dental issues in the future, including dental caries, gum disease, or even tooth loss.

For many people, including those with dental anxiety, sedation dentistry is the best option. The following are a few frequently asked questions you might have about sedation dentistry.

Could I Benefit From Dental Sedation?

In addition to dental anxiety sufferers, several other types of people are also excellent candidates for dental sedation, including:

  1. Patients who have trouble sitting still because of a medical condition
  2. Patients who cannot easily hold their jaw steady because of neck, jaw, or back issues
  3. Patients who are sensitive to numbing medications
  4. Patients with a strong gag reflex

Dental sedation is also a good option if you are short on time or need to have a complex and painful procedure performed.

What Types of Dental Sedation Are Available?

There are several types of dental sedation available. The type you choose depends on your dentist’s recommendations and your own preference. They include:

  1. Minimal sedation. A patient is typically given an inhaled sedative, such as nitrous oxide, which is controlled by the dentist. The gas wears off very quickly.
  2. Oral sedation. The dentist prescribes the patient a sedative, such as Valium, Halcion, or Ativan. The dosage depends on how sedated the patient wants to be. A mild sedation will relax the patient. A more moderate sedation might cause the patient to fall asleep but easily wake up after the procedure.
  3. Moderate sedation. The dentist administers an IV sedative which allows the patient to remain awake during the procedure. However, the patient will feel disassociated with reality and will experience minimal pain. Often, the patient will not remember the procedure afterward. The patient is able to breathe on their own and won’t require ventilation.
  4. Deep sedation. The dentist provides the patient with a stronger sedative or analgesic that makes them unconscious. The patient can be awoken with stimulation but will be very groggy afterward. In some cases, a patient will need to be put on a ventilator during this procedure.

In some circumstances, a patient will require general anesthesia. This is the type of sedation that is used in hospitals during surgery.

Is Dental Sedation Safe?

There are inherent risks with any type of sedation or dental procedure. However, your dentist and their team are prepared with the latest equipment and techniques to help ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. The dentist is trained, and if necessary, a dental anesthesiologist will be there to administer your medication and monitor you throughout the procedure.

How Can I Prepare for Dental Sedation?

No matter the level of sedation, you will need to prepare for the appointment. Tell your dentist about any medications you are currently taking that could interfere with the sedation medication. You will typically not be expected to stop taking the medication before the procedure.

Also, tell your dentist about any medical conditions. If you are currently sick — for example, if you are running a temperature, vomiting, or coughing — tell your dentist.

Dress comfortably on the day of the procedure. When you enter the office, you will discuss which type of sedation is right for you. If have discussed your needs prior to the appointment and are receiving moderate or deep sedation, the dentist will recommend you stop eating or drinking anything for several hours before the procedure.

What Should I Do After Dental Sedation?

If you are placed under minimal sedation, you will only feel the effect of the gas for a few minutes after the procedure. Depending on the amount of minimal sedative used, you might be able to relax for a few minutes after the procedure before driving yourself home.

However, if you have a strong reaction to minimal sedation or are being placed under oral sedation, moderate sedation, or deep sedation, the dentist will insist you have someone drive you home. Your friend or family member will need to drive you to and from the appointment and stay with you until the sedation is completely worn off and you are feeling less groggy and disoriented.

Do not attempt to go back to work or school on the day of your procedure. In some cases, you will need to stay home the next day as well. Do not drive your car or operate any heavy machinery for at least one day after the sedation wears off.

For many individuals, dental sedation is the best way to overcome their fear of the dentist. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at Renovo Endodontic Studios.

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