One of the top reasons people choose not to visit the dentist for a preventative exam is fear. Dental phobias are often crippling, and fear of the dental chair is common in both young children and adults. Sedation dentistry, however, is making it possible for people to visit their dentist without having an anxiety attack.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry has been around for decades, but it’s only now being used on a regular basis. It involves minimally sedating a patient in order to keep them calm and relaxed during their appointment. While it’s most commonly used during complex procedures, some patients even opt for sedation during their annual cleaning.
Who benefits from sedation dentistry?
All patients may benefit from sedation dentistry at some point. If a child refuses to cooperate during an exam, the dentist may offer sedation to keep them relaxed. Patients who experience panic attacks or have extremely sensitive teeth are also ideal candidates.
What types of sedation are available?
The most common type of sedation is laughing gas, which is inhaled nitrous oxide. Patients are fully awake, but the gas causes them to feel relaxed and elated. Some patients may even laugh or giggle uncontrollably, hence its name.
If a patient is unable to receive laughing gas, a mild tranquilizer may be prescribed. Halcion is the most common brand name. This medication is taken before the patient’s appointment, and it causes them to feel very sleepy. Many patients will have little to no recollection of the procedure once the medication wears off.
General anesthesia, or medically induced unconsciousness, is saved for complex procedures. It must be administered by someone with specialized training, usually an anesthesiologist. It’s commonly reserved for patients undergoing oral surgery, such as wisdom tooth extraction or implant placement.
If fear keeps you from seeing the dentist, be sure to ask about sedation. To find a dentist who is familiar with sedation, refer to this site for dentist info. Sedation may be used for any procedure, from filling a cavity to getting a root canal. Advances in sedation dentistry have helped many fearful patients overcome their phobia.