Various types of sedation dentistry are available, and a reputable dentist will choose the most conservative option for your needs and procedure. Some patients require intensive sedation, which is often IV sedation, but that is rarely necessary. It’s always best if a patient is alert and able to communicate during a procedure — being unconscious is reserved for only the most invasive of procedures, or for patients with extreme dental phobia. Otherwise, a sedation option that ensures a patient is conscious and communicable is best for everyone.
Sedation should not be confused with anesthesia. Anesthesia is what ensures a pain-free appointment. Sedation, as the name implies, sedates patients so they are more relaxed. Sometimes anesthesia is used in tandem with sedation. Sedation is used in dentistry in three primary ways: orally (such as an anti-anxiety medication) prior to the appointment, via inhalation (such as laughing gas) and through IV sedation (with a needle directly into a vein).
Are You a Sedation Dentistry Candidate?
The need for sedation depends wholly on the patient. Some patients with extreme anxiety may require sedation for something as minor as a routine tooth cleaning. While sedation is often dubbed “sleep dentistry,” that’s almost always a misnomer. The vast majority of patients are awake when sedated, and by far the most common sedation technique is minimal, in which patients are fully alert but relaxed. Moderate sedation is also popular. Patients under this form of sedation may slur words and not remember much of the procedure, but they’re communicating with the dental team during it.
Deep sedation, in which patients are drifting off but easily awakened, is rare. General anesthesia, in which patients are unconscious, is almost never recommended, especially in a general dentistry office, but it may be necessary for special dental surgeries that are highly invasive.
Sedation, no matter what type, is safe and has no lingering side effects. At Oak Hills Dentistry, of Layton, Utah, you can depend on your skilled dental team to design the best sedation plan for you, if necessary. Call today for a consultation and to talk about any concerns you may have about an upcoming procedure that may require sedation.