Sedation Dentistry

It’s a well-known fact that some people are mortally terrified of going to the dentist, and that others are terrified of injections.

Unfortunately, neglecting dentistry results in painful dental health issues, so skipping trips to your family Port Coquitlam dentist can result in a great deal of unnecessary suffering and can affect their overall health. For those with dental phobias, sedation dentistry offers a solution.

Sedation dentistry is the use of drugs that induce sedation to help the patient relax and thereby make it possible for them to undergo dental procedures of whatever duration.

It is not only used for people who have high levels of dental anxiety about dental treatment, but also people who have a low pain threshold, children who can’t sit still for long periods of time, and people who have a strong gag reflex. It is also used where the dentist needs to perform a large amount of complicated treatment over a protracted time period.

There are various levels of sedation

Levels of dental sedation

  • Minimal Inhaled Sedation. With this type of sedation, nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) is used. The nitrous oxide is administered, together with oxygen, through a face mask. The dentist can control the level of sedation easily and the effects wear off relatively quickly. This type of sedation is usually used for children who are very afraid of the dentist or refuse to co-operate with the dentist, as it is considered generally safe to use for children.
  • Oral Sedation. The use of a pill, typically Halcion (part of a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines), is used to induce minimal to moderate sedation. A minimal dose will cause grogginess and relaxation while a moderate dose will produce such a feeling of relaxation that some patients have been known to fall asleep. They can, however, be awakened quite easily. Some paediatric dentists are qualified to use oral sedation for children.
  • IV Sedation. In IV sedation, the drug is administered intravenously directly into a vein, which means that it works much faster. IV sedation also allows the dentist to continuously monitor your level of sedation.
  • Deep Sedation or General Anaesthesia. Deep sedation or general anaesthesia renders the patient totally unconscious, or very close to totally unconscious. The patient cannot be awakened easily. This type of anaesthesia can only be reversed when the drug wears off or counter-active drugs are administered. In some circles, general anaesthetic is not considered as sedation as the patient is completely unconscious.

Regardless of the sedation used, a local painkilling injection is usually administered to the site in your mouth where the dentist will be working.

Can all dentists administer sedation?

Most dentists can administer minimal sedation through the use of nitrous oxide or pills; a smaller group is qualified to administer moderate sedation. Very few, and they are usually maxillofacial surgeons, are qualified to administer deep sedation or general anaesthesia.

In a lot of cases, dentists will use dental anaesthesiologists who are qualified to administer deep sedation to both adults and children. Countries have different rules governing the administration of sedation, but generally, dentists have to have the required permit to administer sedation.

For many years, sedation dentistry has been used to help people with dental phobias. The use of sedation dentistry makes it possible for the dentist to continue to provide ongoing service to the unfortunate souls who suffer from this phobia, and who would otherwise simply not go to the dentist.

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