When And Why We Need Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry refers to the use of pharmacological agents to calm and relax a patient prior to and during a dental appointment. There are options for sedation dentistry, such as inhalation of nitrous oxide and intravenous dental sedation, which can help relieve anxiety and feel more comfortable during medical treatment.
Is Sedation Dentistry Needed?
The type of sedation you receive in the dental clinic depends on the degree of anxiety and on the type of examination or surgery performed. Intravenous sedation, also called conscious sedation, is an intermediate state that does not completely make people fall asleep. This kind of sedation really makes people less aware of what is happening around during surgery or treatment. Some forms of sedation involve inhaling a substance, such as nitrous oxide, or taking certain pills, while intravenous sedation is administered intravenously through a vein.
Intravenous sedation is usually limited to patients who are very afraid of visiting dentist. Intravenous sedation works quickly and it is easy to adjust the dose. Sedatives have a long period of memory loss, which means that the person receiving sedation cannot remember what happened during dental treatment. Disadvantage of intravenous sedation is that dentists need to be well-trained in the administration of sedatives, which means that not every dental office can provide intravenous sedation.
Consider the risks of not doing sedation dentistry
Most people first consider the risks of treatment, and then secondly, they consider the risks of not doing a treatment. We want to reverse that thought process for a moment. Let’s first consider the risk of not having sedation dentistry.
Dental fear creates physiological stress which increases risk
Studies show that stress from anxiety has major affects on the body. Think of how a stressful experience affects the body–the muscles tense, the heart races, blood pressure increases, hyperventilation begins, etc.
In times of stress and anxiety, the body enters a fight or flight state of high alert. This state is natural but does pose significant stress and risk to the body. Surprisingly, patients that elect to “tough through” dental treatment with immense levels of anxiety are physiologically more likely to have a stress-related event like heart attack, stroke, seizure etc. Compare that to peacefully resting through treatment with dental sedation.
Dental anxiety creates avoidance which increases the risk for dental decay and periodontal disease
Everyone has something they fear, absolutely everyone. For some going to the dentist is their biggest fear. What do we do when we fear something? We avoid it. We all know avoiding things can lead to bigger problems in the future, but often fear has a power that we cannot overcome.
The problem with avoiding the dentist is that tooth decay and periodontal disease begin to progress to more advanced stages that are often more difficult to treat later on. Fear have direct links to increase risk of systemic health such as the increased risk for heart attack, stroke, Alzeihmer’s disease and Parkingson’s disease. All of this is linked to oral health. It sounds crazy, but its the reality.
Are you a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
Most healthy people are good candidates for dental sedation. Think of the millions of office procedures routinely done in other fields with sedation such as colonoscopies and endoscopies. The technique used for those routine procedures is nearly identical. Could you imagine having a colonoscopy without sedation?
There are numerous types of medications that could be selected as agents to achieve dental sedation. If a patient has had reactions in the past to any medications or foods this should be discussed with your dental sedation specialist prior to scheduling treatment so that the ideal medications may be selected.
Some of the more common allergies that routinely are discussed are allergies to codeine, antiobiotics, eggs, diary, and sensitivity to epinephrine.
Everyone responds a little differently to dental sedation
All patients are unique in their genetics, level of anxiety, and medication history. These factors all play a role in how your sedation dentist will anticipate you to respond during dental sedation.
By collecting a thorough understanding of who you are and your health history the sedation dentist will have a good prediction of how you will respond to the various options of medications available during dental sedation.
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