Dental sedation is an excellent tool used in the field of dentistry all the time. It puts patients at ease, relieves dental anxiety, suppresses sensitive gag reflexes, reduces pain sensitivity, and allows patients to sit for longer appointments so more dental work can get done in fewer appointments.
However, there are a lot of misconceptions about dental sedation. You may have never been sedated before and are unaware of what options there are, how they affect you, and who can get them. Read on to learn more about dental sedation.
Myth #1: Dental Sedation Is Only for Complex Procedures
When people hear or talk about dental sedation, they normally talk about general anesthesia. This misleads people into thinking that this is the only type of anesthesia available and that it’s only for major procedures.
However, there are many other types of sedation and it is available for any type of dental treatment, no matter how big or how small. This is useful for patients with severe anxiety because they can be put at ease during an appointment.
Myth #2: Anyone Can Be Sedated
Dental sedation is not recommended for patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have certain medical conditions, are taking certain medications, or are allergic to the sedative. This is why a consultation where we thoroughly review your medical history is necessary.
Health issues that affect your ability to breathe are particularly important for us to know about and may rule you out as a candidate for sedation, as this can increase your risk of complications.
Myth #3: There’s Only One Type of Dental Sedation
There are four types of dental sedation - laughing gas, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. They range from mild to putting you into a deep sleep. The milder sedatives like laughing gas and oral conscious sedation are used more often during routine appointments like fillings, cleanings, or root canals.
They are both conscious sedatives so you are fully awake and aware of your surroundings. IV sedation and general anesthesia are usually reserved for more complex or long procedures, but there are exceptions. These sedatives are referred to as “sleep dentistry” because they involve putting the patient to sleep.
With IV sedation, patients may be kept awake with a milder dose or put under with a higher dose that is administered through the vein. There is no need for breathing assistance because this continues automatically. However, with general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious and will need manual assistance with breathing.
Myth #4: Dental Sedation Isn’t Safe
When administered by a trained and qualified professional dentist, dental sedation is completely safe. However, you always take some risk when taking any sort of medication, sedation included. Nitrous oxide is our mildest and safest sedative, which makes it suitable for most patients, including children.
We will be sure to review your medical history and inform you of all risks and concerns before allowing you to undergo more intensive sedation. Your oxygen levels and vitals will be monitored.
Myth #5: Sedation Always Takes a Long Time to Wear Off
Nitrous oxide wears off within minutes of flushing the gas mask with pure oxygen to remove remnants of nitrous oxide from your body. It produces no lasting hangover effects which is why most patients can drive home after their appointment.
The effects of oral conscious sedation will last for 2-8 hours but feelings of sluggishness, nausea, and headache may linger for a while which is why you should be prepared to feel the aftereffects for up to 24 hours. IV sedation and general anesthesia effects will take much longer to wear off, up to 24 hours. You will need to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.
Sedation Options for the Ultimate Comfort for Your Child
At Tiny Tooth Pediatric Dentistry, we offer laughing gas, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation to put your child at ease no matter what they’re coming in for.
Whether they’re extremely nervous, have a sensitive gag reflex, have low pain tolerance, or suffer from restlessness, sedation will make your child feel relaxed and melt away any stress or negative thoughts. If you’re interested in sedation for your child, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Su Kim.