Sedation dentistry is a method used for providing a relaxing and anxiety-free experience during a dental procedure. Sometimes it is also termed as sleep dentistry, although it’s not entirely correct. Patients are normally awake during the procedure. This article provides information about the various aspects of this type of dental treatment.
People often avoid going to the dentist due to the commonly felt aversion and fear of dental procedures. However, when dental treatment is avoided it compromises oral health, as well as the appearance of the person. Sedation dentistry deals with exactly this problem, and enables the person to undergo the required procedure without any pain and discomfort.
Sedation dentistry is a method that dentists use in order to provide an anxiety-free and relaxing dental treatment. Even after the procedure, people generally do not experience any discomfort, which is usually the case in normal procedures.
Furthermore, complicated dental procedures which would usually require a number of visits can be performed in just one or two sessions. These days many dentists are offering this treatment method, although one needs to check on its proficiency levels before opting for it.
Different Kinds of Dental Sedation
Dental sedation involves using a variety of sedative drugs like anxiolytics, sleeping pills, depressants, tranquilizers, and so on, which affect the central nervous system, and induce sedation. These can be administered in a number of ways. These days, there are basically four ways in which it can be administered. These are: intravenous, oral, nitrous oxide, and general anesthesia.
Intravenous Method: Pain relief is not provided by this method; hence, a local anesthetic will have to be given along with this type of sedation.
Oral Sedatives: Depending on the patient’s anxiety, oral sedatives like diazepam can be given either half-an-hour or an hour prior to the dental procedure, or even the night before. Like the previous method, pain relief is not provided by oral sedatives; therefore, a local anesthetic will also have to be given in conjunction.
Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is an inhalation method of inducing conscious sedation, which creates a state of relaxation. In this method a local anesthetic will have to be administered in conjunction with the laughing gas to suppress pain.
General Anesthesia: In this technique, an anesthetic is used to cause unconsciousness during the procedure. It differs from the other methods, since the patient becomes completely incognizant of his/her surroundings, hence a local anesthetic is not required.
Various Levels of Sedation
The aforementioned methods can provide different levels sedation. They are:
Conscious Sedation: It can be achieved by either intravenous or nitrous oxide method. While the patient is in a state of complete relaxation, he/she is awake throughout the procedure. Due to this he/she is able to follow the dentist’s instructions, as well as breathe without assistance.
Anxiolysis: In this method, a light tranquilizing effect is produced by using various types of sedatives. They relieve anxiety and reduce irritability and tension. Nitrous oxide is used in this method.
Deep Sedation: In this method, the patient is in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness. Therefore, the patient may not have the ability to respond to instructions in a consistent manner and would require some aid in breathing.
Unconsciousness: Unconsciousness is produced by using general anesthesia, which means that the air passages close. Hence, patients are not able to respond to instructions given by the doctor, and will need assistance in breathing. This type of dental sedation is usually used for oral surgery.