Sedation dentistry simply refers to the practice of general dentists or dental specialists in administering some form of sedation to help their patients better relax during various dental procedures.
Who needs dental sedation and when? That’s a question that is impossible to answer in a single way. The answer will vary from person to person and from situation to situation.
If you are in need of a periodontal procedure of some sort – be it a gum treatment, dental implants placement, or something else, you may be considering dental sedation. Here are the basics about sedation dentistry that you need to know.
Why Would Someone Need Sedation Dentistry?
Many people feel worried about seeing the dentist – or the periodontist, as the case may be. Some patients find it difficult to relax while sitting in a dental chair of any kind – this isn’t only true of children. Adults too may suffer from a severe case of “dental phobia.”
Small children may require oral sedation if they can’t sit still in the dental chair and keep “squirming.” This may be more a matter of hyperactivity than of fear.
Others have a “low pain threshold.” They may find it almost impossible to sit still under even slight pain. Still, others have hypersensitive teeth or have an extreme case of “gag reflex.”
Finally, if you simply have a large amount of dental work to be done in one sitting, sedation dentistry may make things go easier. It can be difficult for anyone to remain motionless in the dental chair for several hours on end.
What Kind of Procedures May Require Sedation?
No matter what dental procedure it is, you should be able to get dental sedation if you request it.
Some common examples of when sedation is used include for:
- Tooth extractions, whether simple or surgical. Also, for compacted teeth such as when wisdom teeth are coming in wrong.
- Dental implants, considering the process may last an hour or several hours, depending on the complexity of the tooth restoration.
- Periodontal treatment. However, note that you would not likely need any sedation dentistry with laser periodontal treatment since it is virtually painless.
- Bone grafts, which are often needed as preparation for the mouth to receive dental implants.
- Soft tissue grafts, which normally means gum grafts.
Of course, there are also many other procedures where someone might prefer to ask for sedation. It’s “a personal thing.” And note that sedation is NOT equivalent to a local anesthetic. It is something that would be used in addition to any anesthetic that is administered.
Which Types of Sedation Do Periodontists Offer?
With dentistry, you generally only need very light to moderate sedation. Deep sedation is generally not used. Some speak of “minimal sedation” as a sedative where you are awake but just enabled to relax.
“Moderate sedation,” sometimes called “conscious sedation” may be used to refer to sedation that causes some slurred speech and you might not remember much of what happened while sedated. Either way, you are looking at a low level of sedation that is very safe.
Quite often, oral sedation is “minimal” and may consist of nitrous oxide (laughing gas.) It is taken with oxygen via an inhaling machine that controls each gas’s quantity and rate of administration. A dental assistant will also monitor the machine, adjust it if necessary, take vital signs, and make doubly sure all is done safely.
Another method is sedation via a pill. You may need to take the sedative pill an hour or so before your procedure. You will remain conscious but be able to relax while the periodontist is working inside your mouth. This helps you and your periodontist since it keeps you from moving and possibly making the procedure take longer as a result.
Different dosage levels are needed depending on the intensity and duration of the dental procedure. Your periodontist will ensure the proper dosage is used and always keep you monitored for your safety throughout. Light sedation wears off pretty fast, but you will still need to plan to have someone else drive you home after the procedure is over. Within an hour, however, you should be back to feeling 100% alert again.
If you are in need of dental implants, a tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, or some other form of periodontal care, you may want to request that sedation dentistry be used. Dental sedation is never strictly necessary but is preferred by many patients at times.
To learn more about sedation dentistry and whether it might be right for you, contact Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry in Central Florida today! We look forward to serving you!