Being afraid of the dentist is nothing new for adults and children. For many, the thought of ever getting to a dentist again seemed like an impossible goal. Sedation dentistry from Dr. Archer M. Katz is taking old techniques and revitalizing them for those most fearful about their dental care. It very well may be the answer that many have been looking for as they improve not only their smiles but their confidence.
More than just for those patients who need extensive dental procedures, the practice of using sedation dentistry is helping with even routine tasks. Many can use sedation techniques to take care of regular cleanings. It also gives dentists a chance to evaluate current oral standards as well as do impressions or other molds that are needed for certain treatments.
There are several levels of sedation that a dentist can use during a visit; the level chosen will depend on the procedures and how long they will take as well as the patient's fears. Minimal is the first level; a patient is at ease and wide awake for the appointment.
With the next level, moderate sedation, a person is awake, but feels no anxiety and will not remember anything about the dentist visit. Deep sedation is when the patient loses consciousness and some reflexes. The highest level of sedation is general anesthesia and it requires a patient using this method of sedation to be completely unconscious throughout the procedure or cleaning.
Sedation can come from several sources. Inhalation is done with nitrous oxide or laughing gas as the primary sedative. It is combined with oxygen and administered through a mask to ensure constant levels at all times. It is important to note the nitrous oxide will not last long in average adult patients.
Oral sedation is given in a pill; these pills are prescribed to a patient before the appointment with additional medication to be given if needed when they arrive. An IV can also be used to give medications to various patients.
This method allows the dentist to control how much medicine a person is given and intramuscular injections may be added/. An injection will take effect quickly, keep the appointment on schedule and the patient unaware of the actual procedure.
Is it safe to use sedation dentistry?
The answer is yes, it is generally safe to use. The dentist can advise and suggest other treatments if there is a pre-existing condition such as hypertension. Many alternatives are in place to work with the needs of those who have special conditions or serious illnesses which could otherwise compromise the care.
Anyone who has experienced negative side effects after anesthesia or sedation should always tell their dentists before the procedure.
Another concern is patients who may have medications which could counteract the sedative or create a negative reaction. While some medications can be stopped long enough to undergo treatment, others may have to consult with their doctor about the available options. It could also be a patient's history of drug use that could negate the effects as dentists want to create a safe, non-addictive option for every patient.