Types of Dental Sedation & When to Use Them
Dental anxiety is a common phenomenon that affects millions of people across the globe. It can lead to the postponement or avoidance of dental procedures, ultimately resulting in poor oral health. To help patients overcome this fear and make dental visits comfortable and less stressful, dentists use a variety of sedation techniques. The types of dental sedation include nitrous oxide, oral sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation, and general anesthesia.
Each type of sedation has its unique benefits and risks, and the choice of sedation depends on several factors, such as the patient’s age, medical history, and type of dental procedure. In this article, we will explore the different types of dental sedation and when they are used to help patients feel more at ease during their dental visits.
1. Oral Dental Sedation
Oral sedation involves taking a pill or liquid medication before the dental procedure. The medication can be a mild sedative or a stronger one, depending on the level of anxiety experienced by the patient. The medication can make the patient feel relaxed and drowsy, but still awake and able to respond to the dentist’s instructions.
Oral sedation is a popular option for patients who have mild to moderate dental anxiety, as it is easy to administer and does not require needles or injections. It can also be used for longer procedures or for patients who have a sensitive gag reflex. However, it can take some time for the medication to take effect, and the patient may need a ride to and from the dental office.
2. Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a colorless gas that is inhaled through a mask. It is a mild sedative that can make the patient feel relaxed and calm during the dental procedure. The gas is mixed with oxygen and is quickly absorbed by the body, so the effects wear off quickly once the gas is turned off.
Nitrous oxide sedation is an excellent option for patients who have mild to moderate dental anxiety and want to remain awake during the dental procedure. It is safe and effective, and the patient can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
3. Intravenous (IV) Sedation
IV sedation involves the injection of a sedative medication directly into the patient’s vein. It can make the patient feel deeply relaxed and unaware of the dental procedure. The patient will remain conscious but may not remember the procedure afterward.
IV sedation is a suitable option for patients who have severe dental anxiety or need to undergo a complicated or invasive dental procedure. It is administered by a qualified anesthesiologist or dentist who is trained in sedation dentistry. The patient will need someone to drive them home after the procedure, and they may feel groggy or tired for several hours afterward.
4. General Anesthesia
General anesthesia is a type of sedation that involves the complete loss of consciousness. It is usually administered in a hospital setting and is reserved for patients who need to undergo extensive dental procedures or surgeries.
Under general anesthesia, the patient is completely asleep and unaware of the dental procedure. It is administered by a qualified anesthesiologist or dentist who is trained in sedation dentistry. The patient will need someone to drive them home after the procedure, and they may feel groggy or tired for several hours afterward.
Dental sedation is an effective way to help patients who experience dental anxiety feel more comfortable and relaxed during their dental visit. The type of sedation used depends on several factors, such as the patient’s age, medical history, and type of dental procedure. It is essential to discuss any concerns or questions with the dentist before the dental visit to ensure that the patient receives the most appropriate sedation method.
If you are looking for skilled dentists in Seattle, WA, contact Brush Dental. We are a family, general and cosmetic dentist that serves the University District, Wallingford, and North Seattle area. Book an appointment with us today!