Sedation dentistry is an option you might want to consider when you need to have dental work done. Especially if you dread it so much that you put off going to the dentist. Sedation can help if you have anxiety, a strong gag reflex, a fear of needles, or if you're just fidgety and can't bear to sit for very long. Here are a few things to understand about sedation dentistry.
It’s Not the Same as General Anesthesia
While some dental procedures might be done with general anesthesia, that is different from sedation dentistry. With general anesthesia, you're unconscious and can't be awakened until the anesthesia wears off.
With sedation, you're simply very relaxed. You might fall asleep, but you can be awakened easily, and you can follow instructions your dentist gives you. You'll still need an anesthetic for the tooth that's being worked on. The medications used to sedate you offer some pain relief, but they aren't pain relievers, so local anesthetics are usually used along with sedation.
There Are Different Forms of Sedation
Your dentist considers your situation when determining the right type of sedation to give you. Options include gas, IV medications, and pills. Gas might be used initially if you have a needle phobia, as gas makes taking an anesthetic shot and starting an IV easier for you. Your dentist might have you take a pill before your appointment so you're relaxed by the time your procedure starts.
IV sedation is commonly used in sedation dentistry since it offers the best control over your sedation. The dentist can adjust the IV as needed to keep you comfortable. Plus, the medicine used in the IV can be reversed with another medication if you need to come out of the sedation quickly.
Sedation Makes the Time Go Fast
A benefit of sedation dentistry is that the time seems to go fast. This makes it perfect for long dental visits where you might be in the dental chair for hours. You drift in and out of deep relaxation so you're not aware of time or of many of your surroundings. You may remember very little about what happened during your dental visit, and that can be beneficial too if you have a dental phobia.
You Need Help to Go Home After Sedation Dentistry
You might feel groggy after your dental procedure. It could take hours for you to feel fully awake, so your dentist will require that someone else drive you home and stay with you until you're awake for your own safety. However, you'll be alert and awake enough to walk out of the dental office.
Contact a dentist near you if you are interested in learning more about sedation dentistry.