Is the mere thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair enough to make your whole body freeze with fear? Would you prefer enduring a toothache to a quick trip to the dentist? If so, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people that suffer from the same fears as you, with some even more afraid than you are.
If you’re one of those who’d prefer to suffer than visit the dentist, oral sedation may help take away some of your dental fears.
Sedation in Dentistry
Sedation is a medical term where a medical expert administers a sedative drug to calm a patient down, or if necessary, put him or her to sleep. In dentistry, it is referred to as either sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry. Although, the latter isn’t exactly accurate are patients are usually awake throughout the whole procedure. Albeit, with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.
There are different levels of sedation used in dentistry, depending on the severity of the patient’s fear.
- Minimal sedation where the patient is awake, but feels calm and relaxed.
- Moderate sedation where patients usually slur when they speak and don’t remember much of anything.
- Deep sedation where patients are just “half-asleep” and are still able to wake up if necessary.
- General anesthesia where patients are asleep and completely unconscious throughout the whole procedure.
What Is Oral Sedation?
Oral sedation one of the many types of sedation used in dentistry, along with nitrous oxide sedation, IV sedation, and deep sedation or general anesthesia.
Through oral sedation, the range of sedation dentists can put patients under in can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, a pill is taken about an hour before the dental procedure. The pill will not put you to sleep, but rather relax and calm you down. The same pills may also be used for moderate sedation, but will have to be taken at a larger dose.
More likely than not, patients sedated through oral sedation will fall asleep during the procedure. Although, they can easily be woken up with a gentle shake.
Is It Safe?
Yes, sedation is generally safe, for kids, adults and the elderly. However, with anesthesia, there are always some risks. For example, those with obstructive sleep apnea and those with weight issues may want to talk to their doctors first to discuss if sedation is safe for them. Also, to minimize the risk of complication, it’s important for patients to only go to an experienced and well-trained dentist.
The proficiency of the dentist is an important factor, as there are necessary trainings and qualifications that dentists have to go through to be able to administer a certain type of sedation.
To be safe, make sure you that you do the following:
- Ask your dentist if you’re a good candidate for oral sedation. Regardless of the answer, ask your dentist to explain.
- Research about the dentist’s qualifications. Find out if the dentist has had ample training and experience using sedation. It may be necessary for you to ask your dentist directly.
- Ask your dentist to go over the risks of the procedure. Aside from this, ask to receive a form that fully details all of the possible risks and complications of the procedure. If you’re unsure about something, do not be afraid to ask.
If you’re afraid that your dentist will find you annoying for asking so many questions, don’t be. Chances are, they’ve encountered patients with similar worries and concerns in the past.
In any case, be sure to consider oral sedation, or any type of sedation, so that you and your teeth start getting the proper dental treatment and care from now on.
If you feel that you would benefit from oral sedation at your next dental appointment, contact Dr. Anthony Yamada, DDS at 310-546-2595 to let him know. For additional information regarding oral sedation visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com.