For many people terrified of having any sort of dental work done by a dentist or dental specialist, the option of sedation dentistry provides profound relief.
Now those who have been putting off dental treatment because of anxiety or fear can have their treatment completed without worry.
Many dental practices now offer sedation dentistry, though not all dental offices provide all sedation methods.
The purpose of sedation is to relax a patient so he/she is comfortable with the treatment being carried out. Depending on the method and type of medication administered, patients may fall into a light sleep. In general, patients have these three options:
1) Inhalation sedation: This involves a mask that is placed over the mouth and nose. This mask is attached to a hose that will administer nitrous oxide, an odorless, colorless gas--also known as "laughing gas." Nitrous has the advantage of wearing off quickly, having few side effects, and being safe for use by pregnant women and those with other medical conditions that may contraindicate use of other sedation methods. The other advantage is that the amount of nitrous being administered can be adjusted mid-procedure by the dentist.
2) Oral sedation: This involves taking an oral sedative such as Valium about one hour prior to the appointment. Some sedatives do have a history of negative side effects. There is also the possibility that the medication will wear off mid-procedure and there is no way for the patient to take more if needed. Oral sedatives are also not safe for all patients.
3) IV (intravenous) sedation: This may not be a good option for those with a needle-phobia, but IV sedation is becoming very popular amongst dental patients. IV sedation allows dentists to complete very simple and very complicated dental treatments. A sedation medication is administered through an intravenous line (IV), usually established in the back of the hand with a small needle. The amount of medication administered is determined by your height and weight, and can be re-administered if necessary during the surgery. Depending on the type of drug used, IV sedation is a treatment option for pregnant women.