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Is Sedation Dentistry For You? Here Are Your Options

It’s not uncommon to feel a sense of anxiety or discomfort during dental appointments, even when you trust your dentist completely. Sometimes this can be overcome through reassurance and effective communication with your dental practitioner, but that isn’t always the case.

In these cases, sedation dentistry can provide a helpful alternative. It relieves anxiety, makes the appointment feel easier and less intimidating, and can remove a boundary to effective dental treatment. Although the anxiety relief it provides is the most obvious benefit, it can offer patients other benefits.

The Other Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

As well as providing relief from fear and anxiety, sedation dentistry can help with pain management and reduce involuntary movements, such as an excessive gag reflex. This reduces reliance on local anesthetics and can make for a quicker and easier procedure. The magnitude of these benefits will vary from one patient to the next, but they can potentially make a huge difference.

The Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry

Several different sedation methods are used in sedation dentistry, all of which have their own advantages and ideal use cases. Regardless of whether you think you’ll benefit from sedation or you just want to consider all your options, it’s worth understanding the most common methods.

Inhalation Sedation (Nitrous Oxide)

Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas” is a mild sedative that can help you stay calm during your procedure. You’ll inhale the nitrous oxide gas through a mask at the start of your appointment and will typically feel the calming effects after three to five minutes. Unlike some of the stronger sedative options, you’ll remain fully conscious throughout, which can be helpful if your dentist needs to communicate with you during the procedure.

Oral Conscious Sedation

This method of sedation relies on you taking an oral sedative, usually a pill, around an hour before your appointment. The exact medication used can vary, though triazolam is the most common. These medications offer a higher level of sedation than nitrous oxide and you may fall asleep during your procedure after having them. Your dentist will be able to wake you easily when needed, however.

Due to the stronger sedative effects of oral conscious sedation and the associated impact on your motor skills and memory, you’ll not be able to drive yourself home from your appointment.

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous, or IV, sedation has an even stronger effect than oral conscious sedation, making it a good choice for those with high levels of anxiety. An IV line will be inserted into a vein, allowing sedative medications to be administered directly into your bloodstream. You’ll likely fall asleep during the procedure and, in many cases, you’ll have very little memory of it once you wake up.

The high levels of sedation mean that you’ll not be able to drive or engage in certain other activities for as long as 24 hours after your appointment, so you’ll need to plan accordingly.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a form of unconscious sedation and needs to be administered by a specially trained medical professional. In some cases, your dentist may have had additional training to allow them to do this but, in most instances, a specialist known as an anesthesiologist will assist during the procedure.

General anesthesia is most commonly used with children and patients with special needs, but it may also be beneficial for those with extreme anxiety. Unlike the other methods of sedation, general anesthesia will render you completely unconscious for the duration of the procedure.

Choosing The Right Sedation Dentistry Option For You

If you think you may benefit from sedation dentistry, the next step is to speak to your dentist in Chestermere AB who is trained and experienced in this topic. This will allow you to have any questions answered and to gain a fuller understanding of how well each of the options could fit your needs. At Chestermere Smiles Dental, we have a range of sedation options that will fit the needs of most patients and a friendly team who know how to put even the most nervous patients at ease. To find out more about how we can help you or book an appointment, contact us today.

Dr. Pandya

Dr. Pandya

Relationships – We care about you. We believe relationships take time………and good, honest communication. Our team commits to taking the time necessary to get to know YOU, LISTEN to your concerns and provide valuable EDUCATION so you can make an INFORMED DECISION about your oral health.