Top 4 Sedation Dentistry Facts

Sedation dentistry, also known as “sleep dentistry” or “dream dentistry,” is a new offering at a few of our Tru Family Dental locations. Sedation dentistry has become more popular in the last several years, but many people still do not know what it is. Here are the top four facts about sedation dentistry that you need to know.

  1. Sedation dentistry uses medication to help people to relax

    In sedation dentistry, patients are given medication that helps them to relax. There are different levels of sedation, which range from minimal to general anesthesia. The options are:

    • Minimal sedation — you are awake, but relaxed. This type of sedation can be administered through a mask placed over your nose. This helps you to relax and the dentist controls how much you receive. It wears off fairly quickly and you may be able to drive home after you are finished. You may also take a pill to be sedated orally.
    • Moderate sedation, e.g. “conscious sedation” — in this state, you are less likely to remember much of the procedure. You can be awakened with a gentle nudge or shake. This can be administered through a vein and the dentist can adjust the level of sedation.
    • Deep sedation or general anesthesia — you are completely unconscious. The doctor gives you medicates that you either need to wait for them to wear off or you need medications to reverse their effects.
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  3. Sedation dentistry has been around for decades

    Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, was first demonstrated in dentistry in 1844, but did not find its place in the profession until the 1960s. It kills pain and induces a pleasurable feeling. The options have evolved since then, but it has been used in the dental field for a long time.

  4. Sedation dentistry is for more than dental phobia

    According to the Washington Post, about five to 10 percent of the population suffers from dental phobia, while 40 to 75 percent of people have fear and anxiety about dentistry. These fears are linked to avoidance of treatment and appointment cancellations. There is no rationale for why people have this type of phobia, but many do. For people with dental phobia and dental anxiety, sedation dentistry is an excellent option; however, it is also a great option for people who:

    • Need to undergo several extensive treatments
    • Have an overactive gag reflex
    • Have a low pain threshold
    • Can’t remain still in the dentist’s chair
    • Are under a certain age and will not cooperate or are highly afraid (children are sometimes sedated during dental procedures)
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  6. Sedation dentistry is safe

    Sedation dentistry is safe and effective. With every type of sedation dentistry, a trained dentist gives the patient the drug and is constantly monitoring the amount and the patient’s status. The dentist is obligated to review the patient’s medical history and determine if it is an appropriate option.

    Sedation dentistry is generally a safe option for children who are prone to intense fear of the dentist or unwillingness to sit still during a procedure. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists and the American Academy of Pediatrics have a joint set of guidelines for sedation in children. Your dentist should be familiar with these and some states require a special permit for administering sedatives to children under 12.

Do you want to know if sedation dentistry is right for you? People who have anxiety, dental phobia or may need a large amount of work done in a short timeframe may be prime candidates for sedation dentistry. Discussing the option further with your dentist will give you an idea of what it involves and if it is for you. Contact us at Tru Family Dental to schedule an appointment. We are here to answer any questions you may have about sedation dentistry and your other dental care needs.

Posted In: Dental Procedures