It’s not uncommon to be anxious about visiting a dentist. In fact, a lot of people, children and adults alike, get worked up when it comes to having dental check-ups and procedures. It’s good to know that there’s a thing called sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is when your dentist administers some form of sedation to keep you calm or unconscious during dental procedures. There are four levels of sedation and they vary in intensity and purpose. The first level is called minimal sedation. Taken from its name, its effects are very minimal because you won’t be knocked out. You can even drive home safely and you would only be relaxed during the procedure. Minimal sedation can be done by inhaling nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas”.
The second level is moderate sedation where you feel groggier than the first level and you might even experience having slurred speech. This can be done by giving you a pill like Halcion or by passing the sedative through an IV. The latter works faster than the former because it goes directly to your blood. Moreover, moderate sedation is the most common form of sedation for dental procedures because it doesn’t wear off as fast as the first level, but it is definitely much stronger in terms of its calming and numbing abilities.
Next is deep sedation where your dentist will give you a higher dosage of a sedative that can render you unconscious or on the brink of unconsciousness. It can also happen that you will fall asleep during the whole procedure. But you don’t have to worry because you can easily be awakened by a slight nudge.
The last level is the strongest one and it’s called general anaesthesia. Like the other forms of anaesthesia, once you are given a sedative, you become completely unconscious. This is often used for dental procedures that take hours. If you want to know more about the kinds of sedatives that dentists can give you, you can do some additional reading so you are more aware of how your procedure will be taken care of.
A lot of hesitation towards seeing a dentist comes from the fear of all those equipment being put in your mouth. It’s not a very nice experience since some procedures actually hurt. That is why you could try going for sedation dentistry because it will mostly be an advantage to you.
Sedation dentistry has a lot of benefits aside from calming your nerves. In fact, it is also a good thing for your dentist whenever you take a sedative. This is because they will have a much easier time working on your teeth since patients tend to become uneasy whenever they are anxious during the procedure. When the latter’s nerves are calmed, the dentist would not have to worry about how you would react and this will allow them to focus more intently on the job at hand. There will be no fidgeting and babbling. On the other hand, they will also be able to control the movement of your jaw and head when you are relaxed since you won’t be completely unconscious.
But more importantly, there is more benefit for you when you go to a sedation dentist. Apart from relaxation, you would also have little to no memory of the whole dental procedure. You will not remember the pain or the equipment put in your mouth. You might not even notice the time. This is helpful especially in the long run because it reduces the bad experiences that stay with you when you visit a dentist. In time, you wouldn’t be so scared because you would be comforted by the fact that the pain is reduced and you rarely remember a thing. To add to that, there is generally less or no pain felt. Sedation renders your teeth and gums numb so you won’t feel anything. Even if you are conscious, you would not notice what is being done.
Another benefit is that you will have fewer reflexes at work. This is actually helpful for both you and the dentist because when your gag reflexes are reduced, the procedure will go smoothly. This is recommended for those who are overly sensitive to any pain inflicted on the mouth, teeth, or gums.