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What is Sedation Dentistry?
April 27th, 2013 by Dr. Watson

Far more people than you might realize are afraid of going to the dentist, and while most will manage to overcome that fear to get treatment, others will delay visiting the dentist until the pain is unbearable. Obviously this isn’t a desirable situation, and is likely to increase the amount of treatment required, and may mean that treatment will be far more invasive. This can make the situation even worse for the patient, and can make them even more anxious and afraid. In this situation sedation dentistry can make the whole process a lot more bearable.

Sedation dentistry uses various levels of drugs to sedate a patient. Sedation can either be very light, and will merely reduce anxiousness, or it can be more substantial and can induce a dreamlike state. There are three main types of sedation that may be offered in your dental office, and these include:

•    Nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, is combined with oxygen and inhaled through a mask. It helps to relax the patient and the effects quickly wear off.
•    Oral sedation can be given to provide a very mild or more moderate effect. In this case the patient is usually given a pill to take an hour or so before the surgery.
•    Intravenous sedation is where the sedative is delivered directly into the bloodstream via an injection. The level of sedation can be continually adjusted during the treatment session, and this technique is extremely good for people who are extremely afraid of receiving dental treatment. It is ideal for patients who need to undergo a substantial amount of treatment as it enables far more to be accomplished in just one session.

Advantages of Sedation Dentistry
In most cases the patient will be sedated, but will still be conscious and aware of what’s going on. They will be able to communicate with the dentist and the rest of the dental team during treatment, but will probably have little recollection of what happened afterwards depending on how much sedation they are given. This can be ideal as it means quite a long treatment session can feel like just a few minutes. It enables relatively complex treatment to given in fewer visits, and is perfect if a patient needs to spend quite a lot of time in the dental chair. It’s also a good solution for anyone who hasn’t been to the dentist for a while due to their high levels of anxiety, as sedation dentistry will enable them to receive essential treatment, restoring their oral health.

What to Expect during Sedation Dentistry
The experience will depend on the degree of sedation you’re given. If you only receive a small amount of sedation then you’ll be fully awake during the treatment but will feel very relaxed. If you received a moderate amount of sedation then you’ll be able to respond to others during treatment and you’ll be conscious, but you won’t remember very much of what has happened afterwards. If you are deeply sedated than your dentist will be able to awaken you during the procedure, but you will feel extremely sleepy. You’ll also need to arrange to have someone drive you to and from the dental office, and your dentist will probably prefer it if that person can stay with you for a while afterwards just to make sure you’re okay.

Sedation dentistry is extremely safe, and dentists who are able to offer this service tend to be extremely highly trained and are often oral surgeons. You’ll be carefully monitored during treatment, and may need to stay in the dental office for a while afterwards just so the dental staff can make sure you’re okay before you go home.

For more information on Sedation Dentistry, please call Dr. Watson’s Jackson, MS office today!