Dental Sedation


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Many people get anxious around the dentist, and this can seriously compromise oral health and hygiene.  It is so important to visit the dentist regularly, and if you don’t, problems may only get worse, leading to more treatment being needed.  Sedation is a commonly used solution to this problem, allowing patients to relax throughout their treatments. 

Having sedation will sometimes require your dentist to refer you to a separate centre, normally the nearest hospital.  It can be used to help in almost any treatment, and can allow you to not worry or get anxious throughout the procedure. 

Sedation can be administered in many forms, but all produce a form of relaxed state for the patient, allowing the dentist to make progress and administer treatments without agitating the patient.  The medications used affect the central nervous system inducing a calm state.  Sometimes when sedation is used during dentistry procedures it is also called ‘sleep dentistry’ although this isn’t an accurate portrayal of what occurs.  The drugs don’t make you unconscious and with some forms of sedation you will you will be aware of all that is going on.  It is very unlikely that you will have to have a general anaesthetic for dental treatments.

Reasons for Sedation during Dentistry

  • If you have very sensitive teeth and find procedures extremely painful.
  • If you have a dental phobia, or have suffered from bad past experiences.
  • If you have a very sensitive gag reflex.
  • If you suffer from any disease or impediment that creates severe muscle spasms.
  • People who need to complete a lot of treatments at once due to a lack of time will be able to have more done while under sedation.

Advantages of Dental Sedation

  • Allows you to have routine and serious treatments despite a fear or phobia of dentists or dental procedures.
  • Helps reduce the pain of some procedures, especially in the case of gum treatments.
  • The memory loss associated with some forms of sedation might help you to combat your phobia.
  • It allows your dentist to work within your mouth with no worries of muscle spasm.
  • Makes the process a lot calmer, and pain free.  This is useful for those with severe gag reflexes or unusually placed nerves.

Disadvantages of Dental Sedation

  • Some people are concerned about the sedation procedure itself, which renders the idea obsolete.
  • There are some concerns with forms of sedation causing blood clots and allergic reactions.

Types of Sedation in Dentistry

  • Inhalation Sedation or Gas
  • IV Sedation
  • Oral Sedatives from your Dentist

Alternatively your treatment may include  local anaesthesia. This is commonly used for minor dental treatments and typically involves a gel or injection of a local anaesthetic which eliminates any pain while the area is being treated. General anaesthesia makes the patient completely unconscious and is used mainly for large scale surgery and for those who aren’t able to have sedation.  It contains its own risks and problems but is a good solution for those who have severe phobias or who are undergoing a lot of treatments at once.

Not all dentists perform dental sedation and it is essential that you enquire at your clinic to ensure that they do.  To offer sedation dentists need to undergo specific training on top of their dental qualifications.

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