Today's dental patients are benefiting from major advancements in the dental industry that is reducing invasiveness and pain during treatment. But, that has not changed the preconception of fear many dental patients face before heading to appointments. According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), 30% of the population in the US avoids the dentist due to fear. Little do they know that with the help of sedation dentistry, they can receive treatment that will give them healthy teeth and vibrant smiles, and they won't feel a thing.
According to the Consumer Guide To Dentistry, sedation therapy is used to provide patients with a relaxed, anxiety-free state of mind for dental appointments. Equally important to relaxation, sedation dentistry helps patients deal with pain. Rather than knocking a patient out for treatment, sedation allows patients to cope with high levels of fear and pain while conscious.
Types of Sedation therapies
There are several forms of sedatives, which yield various states of sedation. Mild sedation, or anxiolysis, is used to relieve anxiety and creates numbness. The patient rests at a low level of consciousness, which means the patient can breathe independently and has control over the body. To achieve mild sedation, dentists use inhalation sedation (also known as laughing gas), or oral pills, which patients ingest prior to the appointment.
A moderate level of sedation allows patients to retain control of the body and breathing, but decreases the awareness of pain, sounds, and smells. There are three types of treatment that provide moderate sedation. Intravenous (IV) sedation is an older method in which dentists administer sedatives through a needle injection to the arm. Effects are nearly instantaneous as the sedatives are administered directly into the blood stream.
In addition to mild oral sedatives, there are also oral sedatives that provide moderate sedation levels. Whereas IV sedation is quick, oral sedation works slower as the pills must be digested and broken down before entering the blood stream. Lastly, there is intramuscular sedation, a less popular method where an injection is administered into the muscle of the upper arm or thigh.
Dentists believe that, oral sedation may have various effects on individuals. Variables such as weight, height, and gender come into play when providing the proper does. To achieve the proper level of sedation, it is important to keep your dentist updated on the effectiveness of the pills.
Dentists will use sedation to help patients move past fears when performing cosmetic procedures such as veneers, implants, or crowns; restorative procedures such as root canals; protective treatment such as fillings, inlays, onlays, or sealants, and other treatments as well. It is vitally important to help their patients feel comfortable and safe during appointments.