Sedation Dentistry: What, Why, And How?

Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry is now gaining popularity in the field of dentistry. It has gained popularity particularly because it allows a patient to undergo any dental procedure without feeling and seeing anything. Sedation dentistry is especially useful for people with dental phobia. However, sedation dentistry can only be done after a thorough medical examination. The dentist has to make sure first that the patient does not have any other medical conditions like hypertension and respiratory diseases that may result in complications.

Sedation can be done through a variety of ways such as general anesthesia, oral sedation, IV sedation, and through the use of nitrous oxide.

General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is usually the last option in sedating a dental patient as it is more complicated and risky than other sedating methods. A patient given a general anesthesia is completely asleep during the entire process. Most of the time general anesthesia is administered through injection and/or face mask. General anesthesia is only recommended to patients with severe dental phobia, and those with high tolerance for sedative.

Oral Sedation

Oral Sedation is done by letting the patient drink a pill or liquid sedative. Unlike, general anesthesia, oral sedation does not put the patient to sleep. It only calms down the patient enough to undergo the dental procedure. Oral sedation is sometimes done in combination with inhalation of nitrous oxide.

IV Sedation

IV sedation, similar to oral sedation, does not put the patient asleep, rather it only has calming effects. The only difference between the two methods is the manner by which the sedative is administered. While oral sedation is done through oral intake of sedative, IV sedation, on the other hand, is done by directly injecting the sedative to the patient’s vein. The syringe containing the sedative is injected either in the patient’s arm, or in the back of the hand. The sedating effect is felt faster by the patients using this method than those using oral sedation. Moreover, throughout the dental procedure, the patient’s pulse and oxygen level will be monitored. A patient who has undergone IV sedation might have to take some time in the office before leaving to make sure that the sedative has completely worn off.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the most common method of dental sedation. The gas is simply inhaled by the patient to reduce anxiety before and during the dental procedure. The patient will remain conscious, and be able to respond to questions. Some patients may experience a slight tingling sensation on their arms and legs.

Through the help of modern technology in the field of medicine, it is now possible to undergo a dental procedure, or even a dental surgery without feeling any pain.