Going to the dentist could be stressful to patients because of the pain commonly felt after dental procedures. As such, dentists offer various options for sedation to provide comfort to their patients. Sedation dentistry provides various dental therapies that are safe and comfortable. This treatment lessens anxiety or fear during treatment, providing a more relaxed dental experience.

People who must undergo complicated dental procedures will certainly require sedation for the procedure. Sedation dentistry could be classified as conscious sedation or general anesthesiaConscious sedation is further subdivided into oral sedation, inhaled sedation and intravenous sedation.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation has minimal to moderate effectiveness. Sedation dentists will usually advise the patient to take an anesthetic pill one hour prior to the dental procedure. It is necessary to wait after one hour for the anesthetic pill to be absorbed, and take effect. Patients will feel drowsy but will still be conscious. The dentist will increase the dosage of the anesthetic pill as needed to achieve an higher sedative effect.

In general, oral sedation is the most commonly used in the sedative industry. Benzodiazepines are specifically used for oral sedation. Patients may feel drowsy and groggy, and could even fall asleep while the procedure is being performed. They can, however, be easily awakened by gentle stimuli. Patients under oral sedation may not remember what happened during the procedure. They will require assistance on their way home because the sedative of the drug would still be active.

Inhaled Sedation

Nitrous oxide gas is the most common agent used for inhaled sedation. Nitrous oxide is characterized as an odorless, colorless and non-irritating kind of gas. It is mixed with oxygen, and is administered via face mask or nasal cannula. This is easily administered within a few minutes prior to procedure. Patients will simply inhale the nitrous oxide from the face mask. Inhaled sedation is easily absorbed by the lungs and the brain.

Inhaled sedation has similar sedative effects as do anesthetic pills. Patients under inhaled sedation may feel tingling sensations or light-headedness. Patients are conscious while the dental therapy is being performed. The effect of the inhaled sedation will immediately wear off upon the removal of the facemask. This is the safest sedative method in which patients can resume their normal daily activities right after the procedure. Inhaled sedation is the usual sedation of choice of pediatric patients.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation is also known as deep dental sedation. This is an invasive sedative procedure compared to the oral and inhaled sedative methods. The anesthetic medication will be delivered via the intravenous route. This is commonly used for patients who request deep sedation, and are not afraid of injections. The anesthetic medication is directly delivered into the blood, causing rapid effects. This will drastically lower a patient’s ability to perceive any stimuli. Intravenous sedation provides a higher degree of muscle relaxation. This kind of sedation will require strict monitoring before and during the procedure. Patients are also assessed for allergies to intravenous medications and the presence of other comorbid conditions.

General Anesthesia

Sedation dentists could also offer general anesthesia to patients. General anesthesia will make the patient totally unconscious. The patient will be in a deep sleep with lessened sensory perception, as well as no recollection of the procedure at all. General anesthesia has a high sedative effect which is why constant patient monitoring is done during the dental procedure.

Generally, anesthesiologists are trained and authorized to deliver general anesthesia. This method of sedation is commonly administered with the use of a face mask. Patients will feel dizzy and uncomfortable after the procedure; assistance is advised for patients who undergo this treatment.

Sedation dentistry is indicated for patients who need help relaxing during a procedure. It is also used for patients who have a phobia of dental procedures. Patients with other mental health conditions benefit from sedation dentistry as well.

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