Sedatives are meant to make you relax and slow down the actions of the nervous system. Whether you have anxiety, low tolerance to pain or undergoing extensive dental work, sedatives will make your dental visit a bit more pleasurable and relaxing. Each patient is unique and the right sedative will be decided based on your age, weight, height and medical history.
There are 4 levels of Sedation:
- Minimal- awake but relaxed
- Moderate “Conscious”- slur words when speaking & remember very little of procedure
- Deep- on edge of consciousness but can easily be awakened
- General Anesthesia- completely unconscious
Types of Sedation:
- Inhaled Minimal Sedation “Laughing Gas”- the patient is administered nitrous oxide combined with oxygen through a mask that is placed on the nose. The patient feels relaxed & the dentist can easily control & monitor the amount of sedation throughout the treatment. The sedation wears of rather quickly and the patient is able to drive home afterwards.
- Oral Sedation- This is minimal to moderate sedation. Minimal sedation if a small oral dosage taken roughly 1 hour before the procedure. The patient is drowsy but awake during the treatment. Moderate sedation is a larger dose of oral pill. This is the most common form of sedation. The patient is groggy and can easily fall asleep during the procedure. Whether minimal or moderate, the patient must be accompanied home and can not operate a vehicle.
- IV Moderate Sedation- This sedation is done intravenous. It begins to work quickly. The dentist is able to monitor the level of sedation throughout the treatment.
- General Anesthesia- When a patient undergoes general anesthesia, they are totally unconscious & deeply asleep. The level of anesthesia needs to be closely monitored to make sure the patient is not at risk of any complications. The anesthesia needs to wear off or be reversed with medication.
- Local Anesthesia- The anesthesia is administered in the area surrounding the treatment location. It alleviates the pain and discomfort without the patient losing any form of consciousness. Because the anesthesia is done in only a portion of the mouth, there is discomfort when eating or drinking while its effects are wearing off.
There is always a form of risk with any type of anesthesia or sedation. If you have an prevailing medical conditions such as sleep apnea or obesity, please speak opening with your doctor so that they can choose the best form of anesthesia for you. Talk to your doctor about any fears or concerns you might have.
Sedation of Kids & Teens
Children by nature have a hard time sitting still especially when they are experiencing discomfort in their mouth. With minor sedation, the dentist is able to work more efficiently and the patient needs to come in less frequently. Sedatives also help relieve children of unnecessary anxiety, helping them not develop lifelong dental phobias.
Sedatives for children are safe, but their age & weight is taken highly into consideration when determining the level of sedation.