Often known as “sleep dentistry,” sedation dentistry is likely something you may experience at least once in your life, whether you remove your wisdom teeth or undergo other extensive procedures. But what exactly does it entail?
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry provides a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for patients undergoing dental treatment. It allows individuals to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need without suffering from the symptoms of their dental phobia.
According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable, and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. These fears prevent people from receiving necessary routine dental care, potentially compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile.
The “sedation” comes from the use of sedative drugs to calm and relax patients. Sedative drugs (tranquilizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications, nitrous oxide, etc.) can be administered to patients in various ways. In the past, intravenous (IV) sedation, sedatives delivered via injection into the blood vessels of the hand or arm, was the most common way to sedate a dental patient.
While IV sedation is safe and effective when administered by a trained professional, sedation dentistry has evolved to be even more of a relaxing experience. Patients have alternatives to the traditional methods of inhalation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) and IVs, such as those offering a “no needle” approach that many people find more appealing.
Oral sedation dentistry is now the most common technique used in the United States and Canada to calm patients with fears and anxiety. The method is easy and requires no needles. The medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit or feel as if they were asleep during their treatment.
While some sedation dentistry puts patients to sleep, most oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation. You’re awake, but you’re relaxed. It’s important to note that sedation is different from anesthetic injections. Although some forms of sedation (such as nitrous oxide gas) may make the treatment less painful, most dental treatments still require a local anesthetic injected in the mouth, even when you receive a sedative.
Regardless of the type of sedation dentistry in Miami, Florida, you receive, it is important to have a responsible family member or friend accompany you to the procedure so they can drive you home. Your caregiver should also stay with you for an additional two to four hours at home.
Is Sedation Dentistry Necessary?
Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question. It entirely depends on the procedure you’re getting at the dentist, with emphasis on procedure. If you’re getting a regular cleaning or check-up, there’s no need for sedation unless you have a special case. However, it’s important to note that there are different types of sedation you can undergo. If a trip to the dentist gives you severe anxiety, you have options.
Anxiolysis is minimal or mild sedation associated with relieving anxiety. Inhalation analgesia (also known as nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) is one of the more commonly requested types of anesthesia from people who have anxieties about their procedure. It is administered via a small nose-hood placed over the nose, in which nitrous oxide is delivered before and throughout treatment.
In addition to some tingling and numbness, nitrous oxide typically evokes an overall feeling of well-being. Pills can also be used to create a feeling of anxiolysis. You must be open and honest with your dentist about any past drug use or current medical conditions so that they can administer the correct dose of this medication.
While sedation dentistry is not always necessary, it provides several benefits, including the feeling that the procedure only lasted a few minutes when it might have taken hours to perform. With sedation dentistry, complex dental procedures—such as extensive rebuilding procedures—that generally require multiple visits can be completed in fewer appointments.
If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing lengthy or risky dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
Another benefit of sedation dentistry for anxious patients is that they are more likely to receive the routine care that all dentists recommend. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary.
Best Cosmetic Dentist in Miami, Florida
Discover how sedation dentistry in Miami, Florida, can give you your best smile. Contact Dr. de Cardenas today and experience the difference between being treated as a patient and being treated as a part of the family.