Conscious sedation dentistry involves administering sedative drugs for reducing dental anxiety before any dental procedures. As a patient, you may receive the drugs orally, intravenously, or through inhalation. Sedation dentists usually prefer to administer sedatives to patients who have dental phobia, generalized anxiety, belonephobia, and to patients who have suffered dental trauma earlier. Patients affected by high anxiety levels may receive sedatives before any shots are administered to control pain, especially if they are fearful of needles.
Anxiety or the fear of receiving treatment from a dentist is quite common and affects 75% of Americans. Approximately 5 to 10% of the population experience dental phobia as well. A dental phobia develops over time and is a result of traumatic dental experiences earlier, childhood anxiety, fear of the dental office environment, and outside influences.
Dental phobia is a function of personality development associated with feelings of helplessness and abandonment. Children growing up with dental anxiety continue to experience it during adulthood as well. Children growing up with fear and continuing to experience it into adulthood are more likely to experience dental phobia. Patients with dental anxiety generally find the smells, sounds, and signs of dental procedures overwhelming. Some cases have been noted where patients experience anxiety merely by seeing the dentist dressed in a white coat.
Dental anxiety can be induced just by thinking about a dental visit or experiencing one in reality. Injections may influence the stress for anesthesia, sharp objects, and needles. The sounds of scraping of the teeth or drilling along with the mannerisms of the dentist, attitude, and personality, and fear of criticism by the dentist can all contribute to dental anxiety.
Sedation dentists determine which type of Sedation is best for every patient base upon the procedure, the preference of the patient, and their medical history. The three main types of Sedation include the following:
Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas and is administered to patients through inhalation. Dentists combine laughing gas with local anesthesia as surgery sedation to reduce feelings of anxiety, pain, and fear. Laughing gas does not put patients to sleep, but the effects of nitrous oxide are instant. The sedative wears off quickly after the patient breathes in oxygen for about five minutes before the mask is removed.
Oral Sedation is also known as premedication, and patients have prescribed a sedative before a surgical or invasive dental procedure. The premedication allows a safer approach for Sedation that is not administered via injections. The potency of oral Sedation is higher than laughing gas. Patients are advised by the dentist to take the pills the night before the procedure, a couple of hours before the treatment, or before needles are used for administering anesthesia.
Intravenous Sedation, which is also referred to as conscious Sedation, makes patients almost sleepy and utterly unaware of their surroundings. This type of Sedation is used by dentists when performing oral surgeries. Most patients have no memory of anything during the procedure but remain entirely conscious. Dentists can quickly wake up the patient whenever required. The drugs administered in intravenous sedation act on the nervous system to reduce anxiety. The sedatives act soon after being applied, but the effects can last for a few hours after completing the treatment.
Patients with dental phobia refrain from visiting the dentist’s office resulting in problems such as cavities, come disease, and others concerning oral conditions. Sedation dentistry allows more people to visit the dentist without knowing full well; their fears can be controlled to obtain the treatment is needed. Complex procedures generally incorporate sedatives with intravenous Sedation to benefit people who may have dental phobia, sensitive teeth, sensitive gag reflexes, low pain threshold, and extreme anxiety or fear of needles.
Sedation dentistry is common and safe, and before the administration, the dentist must be aware of the patient’s entire medical history and information about any allergies to ensure complications are avoided. Side effects are rare with sedation dentistry, but on occasions may include nausea, drowsiness or sleepiness, and dizziness after or before the procedure.
People with a general fear of the dentist and avoiding dental treatments can rest assured sedation dentistry has made it easier for them to eliminate their concerns. They can undergo any surgery needed confidently knowing full well that sedation dentistry will help them throughout the procedure.