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Dental Sedation

Dental sedation is a god-send for many people, especially those who are afraid of the dentist and get anxious about having necessary treatment.

It is often the case that people will deliberately avoid seeing a dentist or making an appointment because they are too frightened to even step through the door, and dental sedation can help in this instance. It can relax any mind and can make dental treatment pleasant for everyone involved. It really is not advised that you skip an appointment because you are scared or anxious, as any dental problem will surely get worse the longer you leave it, which could cause considerable pain and discomfort and may lead to an emergency dental appointment being required further down the line.

IV sedation is the most common form of sedation these days and is one of the best ways to quickly relax a patient so that they can undergo the necessary treatment they require.

Sedation is also beneficial for dentists as they can duly get on with the relevant procedure without having to keep breaking off to calm a patient down.

What is sedation?

Sedation is a process that uses sedative medications which enable a patient to feel like they are in a dream world. Consequently they cannot feel pain and are unable to feel apprehension or nerves.

The sedation procedure affects a patient’s nervous system and stops nerves from taking over. The use of drugs, tranquilisers and anxiolytics are all administered to enable relaxation to set in.

One massive benefit of sedation dentistry is the fact that many dental problems can be fixed in just one session, which, for anxious patients, is a massive plus point, as only one trip to the dentist will have to be endured.

There are three main types of dental sedation: oral conscious sedation, inhalation sedation and intravenous sedation (IV). IV sedation is the most commonly used form of sedation because it is known to be the most effective and efficient and is quick and easy to undertake. With IV sedation, a drug is administered via injection, which means it goes straight into the bloodstream and starts delivering the effects almost immediately. Another plus point with this form of sedation is that the dosage can be altered and amended so that an appropriate level of sedation can be chosen. This makes it more specific to the patient and their levels of anxiety.

Sticking on the theme of IV sedation, the drug will be put into the bloodstream via a vein using an extremely thin needle that is cocooned in a plastic tube. When the needle is taken out of the vein in the arm, the plastic tube will still be left in the arm and this will be used to administer the drug. IV sedation is quick and easy, and contrary to belief, is one of the safest sedation techniques. We at Pearl Dental Clinic are trained in this kind of procedure and have treated many patients, so you will certainly be well looked after.

How does it work?

Sedation will make a patient feel like they are sleepy, but it will not put a patient to sleep. Instead, a patient will feel like they are in a dream. They will be able to hear what the dentist is saying and will still be able to follow instructions given. A patient won’t, however, be able to feel pain and will more than likely forget what happened in the procedure. Memory will come back after the sedation starts to wear off, but a patient will still be dazed so it is important that someone accompanies them to the appointment so that they do not have to drive after being sedated – this would be dangerous. Sedation should wear off after a couple of hours.

Advantages of sedation 

There are many benefits of dental sedation, with the main advantages already discussed in this piece.

It is important to understand that sedation can be just as beneficial for a dentist as it is for a patient. Sedation permits a dentist to get on with the job in hand without having to continually fight to calm a nervous patient down. Dental problems can be sorted with relative ease and co-operation from the patient is normally better because they are in a subdued state and are not in distress – this makes a dentists’ life much easier.

Unbeknown to many people you don’t have to have a fear of the dentist in order for you to be considered for dental sedation. There are many dental procedures that need undertaking that can be quite painful -certain tooth extractions and gum and bone work for example – so you will also be able to opt to be sedated in such cases should you prefer.

What kind of person should opt to be sedated? 

The first kind of person that should opt to be sedated is of course anyone with a nervous disposition or a fear of the dentist.

There are also other extremely eligible candidates.

People who need to have lengthy and extremely tricky dental procedures may find sedation beneficial, as will those who have a fear of needles and medical environments.

Sedation can also be of benefit to people who have severe gag reflexes and for people who have sensitive teeth, as there will not be any pain to endure.

Of course, as well as people who are ideal for sedation, there are equally people who should not consider the procedure.

A dentist will not perform any sedation process until he/she has checked that your general health is okay and has looked at your medical records and history.

You, too, will have to play a part in informing your dentist of your general health. If you are allergic to certain medicines, or are on medication for another medical issue, you will need to inform your dentist of this straight away. IV sedation is also a no-go for people with kidney and lung problems and it is also not recommended for pregnant women or people suffering with glaucoma.

Things to bear in mind after sedation

After you have been sedated, you will most definitely feel lethargic, so will need to be escorted back home by someone and you will then need to rest. It is dangerous to attempt to drive yourself back home as you will still be in a dream-like and dazed state and this will make your reflexes and response time decrease significantly.

It is also advised that you do not partake in any sporting activity and you should try to avoid having a big meal straight after the procedure. You should also steer clear of alcohol.