Sedation Dentistry FAQs
Most adults have no problem going to the dentist for cleaning and checkups. However, some people have a traumatic experience every time they go to the dentist for treatment. That’s probably why some adults actively ignore the dental clinic and only visit when there is a dental problem. But, that doesn’t have to be you. With sedation dentistry, you can be relaxed during all dental procedures.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication and sedatives to relax and calm a patient before a dental procedure. Although they are used interchangeably, sedation and anesthesia are different. Local anesthesia is used in most dental procedures to numb the gums. Dental sedation, on the other hand, is used to relax you during the procedure.
Our dentist in Oxnard, CA, often uses both anesthesia and dental sedation during complex procedures.
When is Dental Sedation Used?
The dentist can recommend sedation dentistry near you if:
- You have severe dental phobia and are having problems sitting still in the dental chair.
- Severe gag reflex. The gag reflex is a natural defense mechanism designed to prevent you from swallowing a foreign object. However, a severe one may make it impossible for the dentist to perform dental procedures.
- You have tooth sensitivity.
- The dentist is about to do a complex dental procedure.
What Happens When You Are Sedated?
It is assumed that dental sedation causes unconsciousness, but only one type can cause you to sleep. Before our dentist gives sedatives, they perform a comprehensive dental assessment to determine what type of sedation is suitable and in what dosage. Four times of dental sedation are available:
- Inhaled gas
Inhaled or laughing gas is the most common sedation used. It is mild, has little to no side effects, and wears off quickly—making it ideal for children. Since it takes effect quickly, the dentist will give the sedation a few minutes before the procedure.
Laughing gas gives the dentist a chance to adjust the dosage as needed. However, because it is mild, the sedation can only be used in mild to moderate dental procedures.
- Oral sedation
Oral or pill sedation is a bit stronger than laughing gas. The dentist will give you a pill a few hours before a procedure to give it time to take effect. It’s a pill, and this means the dosage is pre-determined. Also, because we metabolize medication differently, it can be hard to tell when the drug will take effect. This makes it hard for the dentist to adjust the dose.
Oral sedation does not cause unconsciousness, but you may drift to sleep. This makes it ideal for moderate dental procedures.
- IV sedation
Intravenous sedation is similar to the pill, but the sedatives are given via the veins. Because of this, the dentist can adjust the dosage. IV sedation also does not cause you to sleep, but you will not have a recollection of the procedure.
It is stronger and is, therefore, used for dental procedures like extraction.
- Deep sedation
Deep sedation also called general anesthesia is used in complex procedures like implant surgery or impacted teeth extraction. This is because it causes unconsciousness, and the dentist will use medication to reduce its effects.
How Can You Prepare?
If the dentist has recommended dental sedation, here are a few things you can do to prepare:
- Avoid taking alcohol 24 hours before your procedure
- Wear loose and comfortable clothes
- Inform the dentist of any medication and supplements you may be taking
- Bring a friend or family
How Long Does it Take to Wear Out?
How long it takes for the sedatives to wear out will depend on the type, the dosage used, and the body’s mechanism. The laughing gas takes a short time to wear out while deep sedation takes time, and you will need medication to ease the effects. Regardless of the type used, it is important not to resume your normal chores immediately. Give yourself a couple of hours to rest and get back to normal.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit the Dentistry of Seabridge Oxnard dental group for more information on sedation dentistry and how it can benefit you.