Sedation dentistry is a relatively new approach to dentistry, targeted towards the large group of people who are afraid to go to the dentist and have dental procedures done. Oral and dental health are both extremely important to your overall health, yet many people avoid going to the dentist altogether because they are afraid of pain or the overall experience of having dental work done. With sedation dentistry, it becomes possible for these people to receive the dental care that they need without pain and the fear that normally accompanies going to the dentist.
It used to be the case that sedatives were administered to dental patients intravenously. This procedure is completely safe; however, many people are also uncomfortable with needles, so other alternatives, such as oral administration and breathing in a gas are available to dental patients. Nitrous oxide is the sedative gas most commonly found in dental offices, and it is commonly referred to as “laughing gas.” Oral administration of sedatives is now a very common procedure for sedation dentistry.
In sedation dentistry, the patient is not actually put to sleep like they are with general anesthetic during surgery. A dental patient who is sedated is calm, has a higher tolerance for pain and there is a good chance that they will not remember the procedure when it is done. When a patient is sedated, a lengthy dental procedure goes by much faster and with much less anxiety involved. Depending on the dental procedure being done, local anesthetic injections in the mouth may be required, but the injections are given after the patient is already sedated. A dental patient who receives a sedative will not be able to drive home after the dental appointment.
In a case where a patient is afraid of having dental work done, sedation dentistry benefits both the patient and the dentist; the patient has an easier and less fear-filled experience, and the dentist has an easier time working with a patient who is not afraid. Sedation dentistry also brings in patients who need dental work but have been putting it off because they hate going to the dentist. For more information, call your dental office and ask about sedation dentistry.