Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry

For as many as 15% of the population, the idea of a visit to the dentist fills them with dread. Fear of the dentist may be a cliché, but it is a very real problem that causes many people to experience problems with their oral health. People who are fearful of visiting the dentist often wait until the pain or any other symptoms that they are experiencing are so severe and debilitating that there is irreversible damage to their teeth and mouth.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, you are probably fairly concerned about the condition of your smile, especially if it has been a long time since you last saw your dentist. You may already be struggling with dental problems, such as chronic toothache, bleeding gums, or loose teeth that need to be addressed, but you are doing whatever you can do to avoid a visit to your dentist. Many people with dental phobia change the foods that they eat, the way that they speak, and even become reliant on pain medications before admitting defeat and getting professional help. Fortunately, there is another option – sedation dentistry.

Sedation dentistry is a term used to describe the use of medications to induce a state of calm in a patient before they undergo a dental appointment. This could be for a simple check-up, a simple repair, or a highly invasive procedure. The level of sedation used tends to vary based upon two factors – how frightened the patient is, and the seriousness of the procedure being performed. Dentists will always opt for the lightest sedation possible while ensuring you are calm and comfortable, and this also lowers the risks associated with the procedure.

As well as being a very successful solution for patients with dental phobia, sedation dentistry is also regularly recommended for patients who have cognitive or physical disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to tolerate a regular dental appointment. This is normally because they are unable to understand or comply with instructions, such as sitting still or keeping their mouth open.

There are various depths of sedation available, making it possible for your dentist to tailor the degree of sedation you need to your individual requirements. For example, a quick check-up may only require light sedation, whereas a procedure like root canal might necessitate the use of deep sedation as it is a longer and more invasive treatment. Here’s what you need to know about the various types of sedation.

Light Sedation – this usually involves nitrous oxide gas, aka laughing gas, which is administered via a mask placed over your nose. Sedation only lasts for as long as you are inhaling the gas as the effects wear off virtually instantly. You will feel light-headed but calm and will have total awareness of what’s happening around you.

Moderate sedation – patients are asked to swallow a pill/capsule around an hour before your appointment. This induces a dream-like effect that keeps you calm and comfortable for the duration of your appointment. You will be aware of what’s going on, but not worried. The effects last for several hours and you will need someone to take you home after your appointment.

Deep sedation – this is administered intravenously via a cannular placed into the back of your hand. Patients are placed on the edge of consciousness and you’ll find it impossible to tell what is happening around you. You also won’t have any memory of the procedure after. Again, the effects can last for some hours, and support after the procedure is essential, including someone driving you home and staying with you.

If your dental health is suffering as a result of your anxiety about visiting the dentist, you may be a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Our dental team will be able to talk to you about the different types of sedation in more detail and will recommend which is most suited to your needs. Schedule your appointment today by calling our office in Rockford, IL.