Sedation dentistry, also called Sleep dentistry is a term that refers to the use of anesthesia during dental procedures such as Dental Implants, Root Canals and Tooth Extraction. Sleep dentistry is often used during procedures that require an extensive amount of time, as well as for patients who exhibit dental phobia or have difficulty controlling their movements (this includes children).
Many people feel afraid or uncomfortable when they are placed in vulnerable positions like the dental chair, and may experience dental anxiety as a result. Sleep dentistry is an option for patients who fear dental procedures, fear needles, have difficulty with their gag reflex, have very sensitive teeth, or have difficulty becoming numb from oral injections.
Sleep dentistry offers pain-free and anxiety-free dental procedures as patients are in a deeply relaxed state, though fully responsive. Sleep dentistry also provides an opportunity to perform multiple or lengthy dental procedures in one session, minimizing the number of visits a patient has to make and ultimately reducing the build up of anxiety prior to each dental visit.
There are four types of sedatives that are used in sedation dentistry:
Orally Administered Sedation
Orally Administered Sedation, sometimes called “Oral sedative” is administered by taking a pill or liquid. The medications can be given to a patient the night before a dentistry procedure or 30 minutes to an hour immediately before the dental appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. All body functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient will often fall asleep. Some degree of amnesia is common. The disadvantage with this method of sedation, is that the level of sedation for each person is not predictable.
Intravenous (IV) sedation
Intravenous (IV) Sedation like oral sedatives, also known as Deep Conscious Sedation is usually used by Oral Surgeons and dentists with specialized training and special certification. With this type of sedation, medications are administered directly into the persons blood stream. The greatest advantage of IV Sedation is that if someone is not sedated enough, the doctor can administer more medication and the effects are instantaneous. IV Sedation is not used commonly in most dental offices because of the specialized advanced training required and the requirements for certification by the State Board of Dentistry. The drugs used for IV Sedation are more effective then the same drugs taken orally. There is a more profound amnesia associated with this technique. The patient will be awake and able to respond to commands.
nitrous oxide gas (also known as laughing gas) is used to induce a state of relaxation. A local anesthetic will be administered in combination with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain. This is the most frequently used sedation method used in dentistry. All bodily functions remain normal and the person is able to breathe on their own. The patient will often fall asleep and experience some degree of amnesia about what happened during their dental appointment.
With general anesthesia you are completely asleep during surgery. This type of anesthesia makes you immobile, pain-free, unaware of what’s happening of the time spent under anesthesia. Because the patient will be unconscious, a local anesthetic will not be necessary for pain relief.