Have you ever been sitting in the dentist’s chair during a cleaning and wanted nothing more than to just sleep or relax during the procedure?
There’s an option for you. It’s called dental sedation. With dental sedation, you take a sedative to relax during the procedure.
Dental sedation is not only in-demand but is becoming more common for both pediatric dentists and and general dentists.
Are you interested in sedation dentistry in Boise? Here, we go over the basics of this service and if it’s right for you.
The Different Types of Sedation Dentistry
Because of the demand, there are a variety of sedation services that dentists may offer. These services vary in many ways, catering to a wide variety of patients.
Oral sedation is one of the most common forms of sedation in dentistry.
This is when you take a pill about an hour before your procedure. While most sedatives vary in severity, you’ll feel drowsy but will still be awake. If you’re given a larger dose, you may fall asleep during the procedure.
The most common medication that dentists use is Halcion, which is in the same drug family as Valium.
Inhaled Minimal Sedation
Inhaled minimal sedation is another common form of sedation in dentistry.
The dentist places a mask over your nose and mouth so you inhale nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas.” Nitrous oxide helps you relax and makes you feel good.
The amount of gas you’re given varies, but most patients are only given a small amount.
The gas wears off quickly, so you can go back to your normal daily activities soon after the procedure.
General anesthesia makes you completely unconscious during the procedure.
Since you’re in a deep sleep, you can’t easily be woken up (though you will wake up after the procedure).
While the effects of general anesthesia will eventually wear off, you’ll feel groggy afterward and are instructed to not drive.
IV Moderate Sedation
During this type of sedation, the dentist hooks you up to an IV where the sedatives are released into your veins. This way, the sedation takes effect quickly.
The dentist can also adjust the levels of sedation more easily with this method.
The Levels of Sedation
Because there are various types of sedation, there are also different levels of sedation. These include:
- Minimal sedation — awake but relaxed.
- Moderate sedation (conscious sedation) — you’re awake, but are heavily medicated and may not remember much of the procedure. Common side effects include feeling groggy and slurring your words.
- Deep sedation — you’re on the edge of consciousness, asleep but can wake up easily.
- General anesthesia — you’re completely unconscious.
The level of anesthesia you’re given largely depends on your procedure.
Always talk to your dentist before the procedure to understand the level of sedation you’ll be given, the side effects, how long the sedation wears off, and whether or not you can drive.
Which Dentists Can Offer Sedation?
You may think dental sedation is only available for patients during a surgical procedure. But did you know you may be able to receive minimal sedation even during routine cleanings?
Just about all dentists can administer minimal sedation, in the form of pills or nitrous oxide. More dentists are also able to provide moderate sedation.
But general anesthesia and deep sedation require complex techniques. The dentist has to complete the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program.
Typically, these options are reserved for oral and maxillofacial surgeons. However, more dentists are using a dental anesthesiologist who is trained to give all levels of sedation to both children and adults.
Before choosing a dentist to perform sedation, research their sedation permits and ensure they meet your state’s guidelines.
Who Can Receive Dental Sedation?
Do you think you’re a good candidate for oral sedation? While stronger forms of sedation are administered during certain procedures, a wide variety of patients can request minimal sedation.
The ideal patient has serious dental anxiety to the point where they refrain from going to the dentist.
Other signs you or your child are an ideal candidate for dental sedation include:
- Can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair
- Low pain threshold
- Bad gag reflex
- Sensitive teeth
- Need a large amount of dental work
What about dental sedation in children? Dental sedation is not only safe for children but is commonly administered in pediatric dentistry.
Nitrous oxide is usually given because it’s safe and most dentists are trained to administer it. But oral sedation is still an option, though the dentist has to dose according to the child’s weight.
Is Dental Sedation Safe?
This brings us to our next point — is dental sedation safe, for both children and adults? While it is generally safe, there are always risks involved. This especially applies to stronger forms of sedation, such as general anesthesia.
Certain patients are also more at-risk when under sedation.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, are obese, or have experienced allergic and bad reactions to sedation, talk with your doctor before going under dental sedation.
This is why it’s essential to only receive anesthesia from an experienced dentist or anesthesiologist with the proper training and certifications.
If you’re still unsure, talk to your dentist before the procedure. Discuss these specific points:
- If the sedation is appropriate for your age, weight, and health
- Ask if sedation can cause a bad reaction due to your medical history
- Go over the risks and side effects of sedation
- Ask how many times your dentist performed the sedation
- Make sure they have drugs that reverse the sedation and if they have oxygen (if you’ll be going under nitrous oxide)
Discussing these topics will keep you informed and aware of the possible complications, as well as developing trust with your dentist.
Are You Looking for Sedation Dentistry in Boise?
A fear of dental procedures is common, but sedation dentistry is always an option.
If you’re looking for sedation dentistry in Boise, you’re in the right place at Boise Family Dental. Click here to learn more about our services and to conveniently book your appointment online.