Does the thought of visiting a dentist for a dental treatment make your body tense with fear? Would you rather bear the pain and discomfort of a dental problem than visit a dental professional for treatment? You’re not alone! Many people are so afraid of the dentist that they skip their dental appointments or prefer not to get a potentially life-changing dental treatment.
Thankfully, sedation dentistry can give you peace of mind and relieve your anxiety during a dental appointment. In this post, our Arnold, MO, dentist will explain everything you need to know about sedation dentistry to help you decide if it is right for you.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry involves different kinds of sedatives that are administered to patients before an appointment to keep them relaxed, calm, and comfortable while they undergo dental treatment. These medications are highly beneficial for people who need to have a lengthy dental surgery or those who struggle with dental anxiety.
You can request to be sedated at a lower level or at a higher level. For example, with oral sedation, you will be awake during the procedure, but you will feel comfortable and at ease. Meanwhile, with IV sedation – also called “twilight sleep” – you may drift in and out of consciousness, but you will still feel relaxed if you stay awake. This is because IV sedation creates a state of short-term forgetfulness (amnesia) where you’re conscious of your surroundings but numb to pain.
Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?
Anyone can benefit from sedation dentistry regardless of their age. Dr. Azaryas Mandefro often recommends this option for people with:
- Dental Anxiety
- Aichmophobia (fear of needles)
- A strong gag reflex
- Sensitive teeth
- A list of needed dental procedures
- Low sensitivity to local anesthesia
- A low pain threshold
- Difficulty controlling their movements
- Claustrophobic feelings while sitting in a dental chair
- Special needs (including behavioral, cognitive, or physical)
What Dental Sedation Is Used for
The level of sedation dentistry that is right for you varies based on your unique needs and factors such as personal preferences, health history, and procedure length. The most common types of sedation options offered by modern dentistry include:
This low level of sedation uses nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” to help you relax. With this method, your dentist will place a nosepiece or mask over your face, and you will inhale the nitrous oxide gas. Patients usually notice the effects of the sedation within 3 to 5 minutes. Your dentist can adjust or control the dosage throughout your dental procedure.
Once treatment is complete, your dentist will flush the gas out of your system using pure oxygen. Since nitrous oxide wears off quickly, you may be able to drive yourself home after your dental procedure.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral sedation ranges from minimal to moderate depending on the total amount that is prescribed. For minimal sedation, your dentist will give you a pill that you’ll need to take about an hour before your dental treatment.
Your dentist can administer a larger dose for a moderate level of sedation if the situation calls for it. This type of sedation medication will make you drowsy, and you may even fall asleep. However, you’ll be easily awakened with a gentle nudge and able to communicate with your dentist when necessary.
Oral sedation can affect your motor skills and memory. With this type of sedation, we recommend requesting a family member or friend to drive you home after your dental treatment.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
With this sedation method, you’ll receive the sedative medication directly into your bloodstream through an IV line. This allows it to work faster than other methods. Your dental professional will monitor your oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate during your dental procedure and can adjust your dosage or use reversal medications at any point necessary.
This sedation option is best for people undergoing lengthy dental procedures or those with severe dental anxiety. Most people who receive this type of sedation fall asleep and do not remember undergoing a procedure when they wake up.
This sedation medication will make you totally unconscious (deeply asleep) or almost unconscious during your treatment. When you’re under this medication, you will likely not wake up until the anesthesia’s effects wear off or are reversed with another medicine.
What To Expect With Sedation Dentistry
During your initial consultation, Dr. Azaryas Mandefro will discuss your sedation options and health history. He’ll also ask about any supplements or medications you’re currently taking to recommend the right sedation medication for your specific needs.
When you come to your second appointment, your dentist will sedate you before treating your dental problems. You may also receive a local anesthetic to numb your gums and teeth. Typically, this is done after the sedatives kick in and you feel comfortable.
After completing the treatment, your dentist will reverse the effects of the sedative. However, in many cases, you’ll need a trusted family member or friend to drive you home. After you get home, it’s important to rest and allow the sedative to wear off completely before operating any heavy machinery or continuing your daily activities.
Important: It’s best to avoid taking a taxi home after sedation dentistry. Instead, you should ask a familiar and trusted person to drive you home so they can make sure you’re resting comfortably before you leave.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Dental Sedation?
Sedation dentistry eases dental phobias and anxieties, keeping you comfortable and calm during a dental procedure. Moreover, dentists work faster when you’re sedated, which means you can get more work done with fewer dental appointments.
Finally, with sedation dentistry, you won’t have to worry about fear keeping you from going to your dental treatment and allowing your condition to worsen. You will feel comfortable and relaxed regardless of the type of dental care you need.
Sedation dentistry is safe when administered by a trained and licensed dental professional. However, it has a few side effects and does slightly increase your risk of complications such as:
- Bruising from the IV
- Nausea and vomiting
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Lingering drowsiness
Child sedation dentistry side effects can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lingering drowsiness
However, these side effects are short-lived and should go away in a day or two. Rarely does dental sedation lead to an allergic reaction. If this happens, there are medications that can counteract the issue. If you have specific concerns or questions, you can call (636) 333-3304 to talk to your dentist.
How Long Does It Take for Dental Sedation to Wear Off?
The recovery times for dental sedation vary, depending on the type of sedation you choose, the amount administered, and how you respond to the medication. Nitrous oxide typically wears off within 15 to 30 minutes, so you can drive yourself home or return to your daily activities after a dental appointment.
IV and oral conscious sedation typically require about 24 hours to recover fully so you can return to normal activities.
We Offer the Best Sedation Dentistry in Arnold, MO
At Meramec Family Dentistry, we offer safe and affordable sedation dentistry in Arnold, MO, to keep you calm and relaxed during your dental appointment. You no longer need to hide your dental concerns, delay your treatments, or dread visiting your dentist and risk a full-blown dental issue that can wreak havoc on your smile.