Understanding Sedation Dentistry

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For many, going to the dentist can be an anxious, fear inducing experience. Those for whom the anxiety of a dental visit is so overwhelming that the use of sedatives is necessary are the primary focus of sedation dentistry. This type of dentistry employs pharmaceutical sedatives to relax a patient prior to and during their appointment. These types of drugs can be invaluable to those with fears of the dentist and severe anxiety. Sedation dentistry makes use of different levels of sedation depending on the type of procedure and the individual patient. Here is a look at the function and benefits of sedation dentistry.


How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?


Sedation works by depressing the central nervous system–namely the parts associated with cognitive awareness. The pharmaceutical drugs used in sedation vary to correspond to different levels of relaxation, ranging from minimal to deep sedation–often used in surgeries. Minimal, moderate, and deep sedation are the three levels and correspond to different degrees of relaxation and cognitive awareness. The administration of sedatives is accomplished a number of ways, including: intravenous, intramuscular, inhalation, and submucosal administration. Each of these methods combined with the appropriate dosage can effectively relax a patient in preparation for and during a dental procedure.


Benefits of Sedation Dentistry


There are numerous benefits of sedation dentistry to both the patient and the dentist. For individuals with severe anxiety, sedation may be the only way they can get the dental care they need. In other situations, sedation is necessary for a particular procedure to calm the patient and anesthetize them against pain and discomfort. Some of the most obvious benefits of this practice include: patient relaxation, patient cooperation, gag reflex control, more comfort, movement control, little to no memory of treatment procedures, and fewer appointments. Often, dental procedures are traumatic and sedation can help enormously with reducing traumatic associations and creating an environment where the patient is at ease and the dentist can easily work.


Sedation for dental procedures is often used as a strategy to help reduce the number of return visits required to complete a procedure or series of procedures. Repeat visits to conclude a dental procedure are time consuming for the dentist and the patient and can unnecessarily prolong an uncomfortable experience. In some cases, administering sedation may be the most efficient and practical method of completing a dental procedure to the benefit of patient and doctor.