Are you one of the estimated 75% of American adults who experience some level of fear at the dentist? If so, sedation dentistry might be right for you. Sedation dentistry uses safe, relaxation medication to decrease anxiety in dental patients.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry serves two purposes--it numbs the pain of a dental procedure while relaxing the patient, although a local anesthetic is often also used to numb the mouth. Sedation dentistry is typically used in root canals, tooth extractions, dental implants, and other similar procedures. It is rarely used for regular cleanings unless the patient has a severe phobia to the dentist.
Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?
Sedation dentistry might be right for you if:
- You have a phobia of visiting the dentist or a genuine fear or anxiety about dental procedures, perhaps because of general anxiety disorder or a bad past experience at a previous clinic
- You are resistant to local anesthetic and need something more to numb the pain of a dental procedure
- You need a lot of dental work done in one procedure
- You have a low pain tolerance or sensitive teeth and nerves in the mouth
- Your mouth is small and becomes sore during and after dental work
- You have a particularly strong gag reflex
- You can't sit still in the dentist's chair no matter how hard you try
Sedation Dentistry at South Anchorage Dental Center
We offer two kinds of sedation dentistry at South Anchorage Dental Center:
- Inhaled Sedation - Inhaled sedation is nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") combined with oxygen distributed by a mask over the nose and mouth. It wears out quickly after the procedure. Patients typically do not go unconscious with inhaled sedation, but they may relax to the point of falling asleep. You can typically drive yourself home after the appointment if you are cleared by the dentist.
- IV Sedation - IV sedation is a sedative distributed intravenously to the patient. It works much faster than inhaled sedation and allows a greater amount of sedative precision to the dentist.
You can learn more about these two options on our sedation dentistry page.
Sedation Dentistry for Kids
Sedation dentistry is often used for children if they are either extremely afraid of the dentist or if they will not cooperate during a dental procedure. Inhaled sedation is typically safe for children as long as the dentist is properly trained and follows procedure. Your dentist will stay within the recommended dose of nitrous oxide based on the child's age and weight.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Sedation dentistry is safe for most people provided the dentist is trained and knows and follows procedure. People who are obese or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) should talk to their doctor when considering sedation dentistry, as there can be increased risks with these conditions. Before your procedure, your dentist will talk with you about your medical history as well as a list of the risks inherant in sedation dentistry. Based on your medical information, they will use a recommended dose for your age. For your own comfort, you can ask your dentist about these things as well as how much training they have received or how many procedures they have performed using sedation dentistry. During the procedure, your dentist will monitor your vital signs including your oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate. Your dentist will have oxygen and medication that reverses the effects of sedation on hand during the procedure as well.
Considering sedation dentistry? Talk with one of our staff members! We offer a complimentary consultation to all of our patients.