What is Dental Sedation?
Dental sedation refers to a set of techniques to calm patients during dental procedures. Most dental procedures can be performed with local pain management techniques like lidocaine injections or numbing creams. However, sedation may be employed for patients who are very anxious about procedures or help patients relax during long and involved procedures. Major procedures such as root canals or wisdom tooth extraction often employ some type of dental sedation technique.
Types of Dental Sedation
Nitrous Oxide a.k.a Laughing Gas
The most commonly known dental sedation, nitrous oxide is a gas that gives patients a relaxed feeling, and will often induce laughing – hence the name! Nitrous oxide is delivered via a mask the dentist will place over your nose. The effects are very rapid and are usually felt within a minute of breathing in the gas. The effects are also short-lived, and most patients are totally lucid after the gas is removed and they breath fresh air for a couple minutes. Nitrous oxide is a mild form of sedation that may be used alone, or in combination with other sedation techniques.
Oral Sedation a.k.a Conscious Sedation
Oral sedation involves taking a prescribed dose of oral sedatives before the procedure. Oral sedation leaves you awake during the procedure but relaxed significantly. Although you are awake, the level of sedation means you may not remember the procedure. Oral sedation may leave you sleepy after the procedure, and it likely will not be safe to drive yourself. The effects of oral sedation are typically gone by the next day. This technique can be used for patients with high levels of anxiety, or who are resistant to nitrous oxide sedation.
For invasive and long procedures such as root canals or complicated extractions, IV (intravenous) sedation is often employed. IV sedation involves delivering strong sedatives directly into the bloodstream. There are two common variations of IV sedation:
Twlight – twilight IV sedation leaves you conscious during the procedure, but you will be very unaware of your surroundings and will not remember the procedure. Although you are very sedated, you are still conscious and the dentist can wake you if needed.
General Anesthesia – General anaesthesia IV sedation means putting the patient to sleep. This type of sedation is uncommon in dentistry and is only used for major dental surgeries. The extra risks involved with being unconscious means that general anaesthesia can only be administered in specialized clinics or hospitals and specially trained anaesthesia specialists must be present.
There’s a Dental Sedation Option for Every Patient!
If fear and anxiety are keeping you from getting proper dental care, dental sedation may be a great option for you. Discuss your anxieties openly with your dentist and find out what options they offer.
At Neesh Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips so you can take good care of your teeth. Contact us today to book a Saskatoon dental appointment.