Many people still dread each much-needed trip to the dentist. As a solution, dentists offer sedation dentistry to patients to help them relax during the procedure.
When determining the level and type of sedation for a patient, a dentist takes into consideration the following factors: age, physical condition, medical history, as well as, the kind and amount of dental work to be done. If you are bound to undergo a dental procedure, you might want to know the common types of sedation in dentistry.
1. Inhaled Sedation
As its name suggests, this type of sedation requires you to breathe in the sedative. Nitrous oxide, more widely known as laughing gas, is the sedative administered through inhaled sedation. It is also the mildest sedative of the bunch. It is so mild that you are even allowed to drive yourself home without any companion after the procedure.
The use of laughing gas only offers minimal sedation. Such level means you are awake but relaxed. This type is best for simple dental procedures.
2. Oral Sedation
For this type, the sedative takes the form of a pill. The pill often used for this is Halcion, a type of benzodiazepine. The number of pills you have to take depends on the level of sedation your dentist deems to be appropriate for the procedure, and for your anxiety. This sedative is given an hour prior the dental procedure.
One pill works like laughing gas, in that it only gives minimal sedation. However, a higher dosage can offer moderate sedation. You might feel drowsy, yet awake during the procedure. Of all the types of sedation dentistry, oral sedation is the most commonly used.
3. Intravenous Sedation
Intravenous (IV) sedation involves the use of liquid drugs injected into your veins. Because the sedative is directly transferred into the bloodstream, the body reacts to it in the quickest way possible. There is no need to wait an hour for it to take effect, like that of oral sedation.
Depending on the dosage, this type of sedation may cause moderate to deep sedation. In both levels of sedation, you usually end up forgetting what happened during the procedure. The difference between the two is that you are just feeling drowsy during moderate sedation, while you are asleep in deep sedation. IV sedation is often sought for the more complex dental procedures such as those that involve multiple teeth.
4. General Anesthesia
In some instances, a dentist may suggest the use of general anesthesia to help patients cope with the possible pain from the procedure. General anesthesia is almost similar to deep sedation. In deep sedation though, you can easily be awakened from your slumber, while under general anesthesia, the effect of the medication has to wear off before you can wake up.
Each dental procedure does not have to be terrifying and painful, thanks to the aforementioned types of sedation dentistry. Always ask the type of sedation to be used, so you can be adequately prepared, and arrange for a family member or friend who will drive you home when needed.