What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation Dentistry is simply the use of medications to help a patient relax during treatment.
It can serve as a valuable solution to help the approximately 36% of the population estimated to suffer from dental anxiety.1 This anxiety can lead to dental avoidance and in turn to poor oral health. Given the linkage between oral and overall health, or what we call The Mouth-Body Connection®, avoiding regular dental exams can also impact heart health, respiratory health, and much more. Rather than risk that, let’s talk about whether sedation dentistry is the right solution for you.
How does Sedation Dentistry work?
Different types of sedation dentistry exist to help with different situations.
- Mild sedation can be in the form of a pill that puts the patient in a “twilight sleep” where they are still available to communicate but more relaxed. It can also be delivered through inhalation, where nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is a common example. In both instances, the patient is conscious and feels a heightened sense of relaxation throughout the procedure. The dentist and patient can communicate, but the patient won’t remember anything afterward.
- Moderate sedation can help patients struggling with a higher degree of anxiety and can involve either oral medication and/or Intravenous IV) Sedation.
- Deep sedation is given to patients for more complex dental procedures such as extractions of wisdom teeth or multiple implant placement. General anesthesia is one of the most common examples; patients remain unconscious and require breathing assistance.
What are the benefits of sedation dentistry?
The most obvious benefit is the reduced anxiety and stress for those who struggle with dental anxiety. With that anxiety out of the way, the dentist is able to safely perform treatment – even multiple treatments when necessary – while the patient remains calm and relaxed. This can simplify treatment and even reduce the number of appointments needed in many cases.
1. Beaton, L., Freeman, R., & Humphris, G. (2014). Why are people afraid of the dentist? Observations and explanations. Medical principles and practice : international journal of the Kuwait University, Health Science Centre, 23(4), 295–301. https://doi.org/10.1159/000357223