Sedation dentistry is a term you may have heard but are not sure what it means. Some dental procedures are always done under sedation, especially procedures that involve surgery. However, sedation dentistry refers to sedation that can be used for any dental procedure- even simple ones. The reason is that dental anxiety is very common, and dentists came to realize that : a fear that keeps many people from seeing the dentist altogether.
Sedation dentistry is not for everyone. If you tolerate your dental appointments without a great degree of anxiety, you are probably best off without sedation. Sedation is a good option for people who have severe anxiety during dental appointments. Do you have anxiety from worrying about a dental visit several days before it happens? Do you have physical signs of nervousness related to seeing the dentist like shaking, nausea or vomiting? Do you cancel dental appointments because you can’t face them? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, sedation dentistry may be right for you.
There are different levels of sedation, starting with mild sedation that can be accomplished with oral medications. These help you relax and feel calm, but they do not cause you to fall asleep. Moderate forms of sedation can make you drowsy, but you stay awake and are very relaxed. The most common form of sedation used in dentistry is nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. The advantage of nitrous oxide over other forms of sedation is that the effects wear off very quickly, so it is usually not necessary to bring someone along to drive you home after your appointment.
Deeper forms of sedation that are used for surgical procedures are administered intravenously. For patients who want to conquer fear and anxiety, moderate sedation such as nitrous oxide is usually enough.
You can call for an appointment to discuss sedation dentistry and the different forms of sedation that are available. Some people have health issues that could interfere with sedation or create risks when using it. Before you go into the office for a consultation, be sure that you have up-to-date information on your health and your health history.