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Sedation Dentistry Explained

Does sitting in a dentist’s chair makes you nervous or even a single thought of the most simple dental procedure make your entire body tense with fear? The truth is – you are not alone. There are so many people out there who feel phobia from going to the dentist that they prefer not to have any treatment at all. However, going to a dentist is of main importance, not just for your oral but for your overall health condition as well. For you and for all other people who avoid dental visits, a sedation dentistry may be the perfect solution. This treatment can be used for everything from complex procedures to a simple tooth cleaning.


Can any dentist perform sedation? The truth is, most of the dentists can provide you with minimal sedation ( like pills or nitrous oxide). An increasing number of dentists can offer moderate sedation, but just a small percent of sleep dentists can provide you with deep sedation and general anesthesia which is usually used for more complex dental techniques. These dentists are usually oral and maxillofacial surgeons and anesthesiologists. Some sleep dentists use a dentist anesthesiologist who is specially trained to give all different levels of anesthesia and sedation to both adults and children.

Sedation dentistry can be provided in few different levels, such as minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia. In dentistry, there are few different types of sedation.

  • Inhaled minimal sedation – This is a type of sedation where you breathe nitrous oxide through a mask that is placed over your nose. This is a gas that will help you relax while the dentist constantly regulate the amount of sedation.

  • Oral sedation – This sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, the dentist will give you a pill that will make you drowsy. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation.

  • IV moderate sedation – You receive the sedative drug through your vein, which means it the process will start to look faster. This gives the dentist ability to constantly adjust the level of sedation.

  • Deep sedation and general anesthesia – You will receive medication that will make you deeply asleep during the procedure.

Who can have sedation? This is a treatment which is most appropriate for people with anxiety or real fear of going to the dentists. It also may be appropriate for people who have a low pain threshold, have sensitive teeth, need a large amount of dental work, have a bag gag reflex or have problem sitting in the dentist’s chair. Kids can also receive e sedation, usually because they do not cooperate during the visit or feeling terrified of going to the dentist. Nitrous oxide is considered as a safe type of sedation in children. Oral sedation can also be used but the dentist must keep within the recommended dose for the weight and age of the child.

There is always a risk in getting anesthesia, but usually, sedation is considered as a safe process. However, it is important to make sure that your dentist is qualified and trained to administer the type of the sedation dentistry you will be receiving.

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