Sedation dentistry involves different methods of sedation. Sedation always carries risks, no matter how deep or how long the sedation. Sedation should be considered with great care and with a good understanding of the risks. It is important to always discuss this with your dentist before asking for or accepting sedatives of any kind. Different people respond differently to sedation and some are more at risk than others. Many cosmetic dentistry procedures require sedation and should be considered carefully.
Types of Sedation
There are different types and different methods of sedation when it comes to dentistry. Some forms are oral and others are administered with syringes.
Oral Sedation – This method involves the patient taking a pill before their appointment to ensure that it can take effect. The strength will be determined by whether the dentist wants the patient to be conscious during the procedure or not.
Intravenous Sedation – This can take two forms: directly into the mouth area or intravenous like in a hospital. When a dentist administers local anaesthetics, they tend to administer straight into the mouth area where they need to work. There are also options for anaesthesia where you are ‘knocked out’.
Levels of Sedation
The levels of sedation have to do with how conscious the patient is. In other words, on a spectrum of conscious and unconscious, most of the sedation methods used by dentists will stay close to the conscious end. Very few dentists will administer full general anaesthesia or sedation which makes the patient unconscious.
Relaxation sedation – This is a mild sedation and the patient will be conscious at all times and simply feel less anxious and more relaxed. This helps for patients who are very anxious when they go to the dentist and need to be calmed.
Minimal sedation – This is also a method that is aimed to calm down anxious patients. Patients who have a fear and experience serious anxiety when they go to the dentist can be given minimal sedation. It is a bit stronger than the relaxation type, but the patient will still be conscious throughout the process.
Local anaesthesia – This is where the sedation is administered to the work area only. In other words, the dentist may inject the anaesthesia directly in the mouth into the gums surrounding the teeth that they need to work on. The patient is fully conscious and alert and can respond to questions. The area where the procedure will take place is the only thing that is sedated.
Deep sedation – This is the level where the person is no longer conscious. Very few, if any, dentists make use of this as they are generally not trained or qualified to administer this level of sedation.
Sedation always carries risks and these include:
- Depressed senses and reflexes. This means the person should not drive after being sedated. For higher level sedations, the patient should also take the rest of the day off.
- Temporary attention problems
- Respiratory depression which means you struggle to get enough oxygen
Always discuss sedation options with your dentist and make sure that he or she is aware of your medical history and any chronic diseases. Sedation dentistry is very safe if approached the right way.