Are you one of those dental patients who has a hard time getting through your dental appointments because of dental anxiety? Or does your fear of dentists keep you from visiting the dental office at all? A great sedation dentist can help put your fears at ease. Sedation dentists are trained to reduce or eliminate the dental fear and anxiety that keeps millions from getting the dental treatment they need.
What’s Your Vice?
Sedation dentists practice what’s often called “sleep dentistry,” which covers a broad range of anti-anxiety treatments. Depending on your needs, your dentist may recommend one of the following forms of dental sedation:
Anxiolysis — Minimal sedation puts you in a relaxed state while you remain completely awake and able to communicate with your dentist. Anxiolysis comes in the form of oral sedation or inhaled sedation (nitrous oxide).
Conscious Sedation — With moderate or conscious sedation, you will stay awake but feel tired or groggy. You will still be able to respond to your dentist’s commands but may slur your words and will not be able to drive yourself home after the appointment. Conscious sedation also causes retrograde amnesia, so you won’t remember the dental procedure. Examples of conscious sedation are oral sedation and IV sedation.
Deep Sedation — Deep sedation renders you semi- or totally unconscious and you will not regain consciousness until the drug wears off or is reversed. General anesthesia is the only sedation technique that renders you completely unconscious.
When administered correctly, dental sedation is relatively safe. Your sedation dentist will monitor your response to the sedation drugs during the procedure. Although complications are rare, your dentist should take every precaution to avoid any risks associated with sedation dentistry, including drug interactions and respiratory problems. You’ll need to inform your sedation dentist of your medical history and any medications you’re taking, as well as any drug or alcohol use.
Sedation dentists are highly recommended to keep these safety measures in the office in case of an emergency:
Pulse Oximeter — Your dentist may use one of several types of monitoring devices to check your vital signs throughout the procedure. The pulse oximeter is a simple sensor placed on the tip of your finger to measure your heart rate and the level of oxygen in your blood.
Emergency Respirator — A portable respirator may be necessary if the patient has difficulty breathing on his or her own.
Emergency Drugs — Every dental office should have an emergency drug kit for sedation problems as well as any other medical emergencies.
Choosing a Sedation Dentist
Finding a sedation dentist to meet all of your dental needs is no light issue. Ask your dentist about his or her training and experience in administering dental sedation. Your sedation dentist should discuss how the sedation will affect you and provide guidelines for your recovery.