Should we be scared of sedation?

Sedation in dentistry can be daunting for those who don’t know much about the procedure. Dental anaesthesiologists are specially trained to give all levels of sedation and anaesthesia to both children and adults. Sedation providers take the time necessary to review the patient’s medical history with their treatment plan, to determine a personalised anaesthetic plan which is safe.  

There are several health checks before any sedation is carried out, including strict instructions on eating and drinking during the hours just before surgery. Whilst there is always a risk in receiving anaesthesia, it is usually safe when given by an experienced dentist. Asking your dentist about their experience in sedation dentistry will help calm your anxiety. Ask questions such as  how many times they have performed the procedure that you require.  Do not be afraid to ask hard, detailed questions, ask exactly how you will be sedated and how you will be monitored whilst you are sedated. Also, remember to ask your dentist how you should prepare for your treatment, and instructions on what to do after your treatment.

Whilst dental sedation is a fantastic solution for many people, not everybody is suited to it. People who have obstructive sleep apnea and those who are already taking some sort of medication must alert their dentist, as well as those who have a history of allergic reactions to medication. 

Sedation is the ideal solution for those of us who suffer from dental anxiety. Dental anxiety can easily turn into dental phobia, which can be devastating for people needing a simple treatment if not dealt with. The procedure of sedation is used by dentists to perform dental surgery on patients in a stress and worry free way, and helps many patients overcome their fear of visiting the dentist. It is worth noting that some people’s phobia of the dentist is not of the treatment itself, but actually of the dentist, and sedation will not take that away. 

It is extremely important that you don’t neglect your teeth because of a dental phobia, because this may well create problems which cause extreme pain and result in emergency surgery.  

The dentist uses the medication to put the patient in a very relaxed, dream like state while carrying out the surgery. Everything is carefully monitored throughout, such as blood pressure, respiratory rate, end- tidal C02 , temperature and gas analysis. 

It is also beneficial for the dentist to use sedation on a patient as the surgery is easier to perform, and more than one surgery can be performed in one session, reducing the number of sessions needed to complete a course of treatment. 

There are different ways in which to sedate individual needs such as;

 Intravenous (IV) sedation, where a sedative is injected into your vein or oral sedation, in which you breathe in a sedative gas through a mask that your dentist places over your nose and mouth.

Benefits of dental sedation: 

  • Saving time for both the patient and dentist to complete the treatment in fewer appointments. 
  • A calm, pain free experience for patients who suffer with dental anxiety. 
  • Patients who have conditions which make controlling their body movements difficult will also benefit from sedation dentistry and the physical and mental relaxation that it gives to the patient.
  • Patients who do not normally suffer from dental phobia can still benefit from sedation during some treatments, particularly treatments that are very painful, such as surgery on the gums.

The after effects of sedation techniques will make you feel drowsy, but different from general anaesthesia, which puts you into a deep state of sleep and has side effects which may last for hours after the surgery.

If you do suffer from dental anxiety, ask your dentist about your options for sedation.

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