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According to recent studies, between 50-80% of adults suffer from dental anxiety. Dental anxiety, and more severe dental phobias, can result from various factors, from unpleasant past dental experiences to PTSD.
Sedation dentistry allows patients who struggle with dental anxiety to receive the treatment they need in the most relaxed way possible. Let’s look at this practice in more detail.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is where dentists administer sedatives to a patient either before or during a dental procedure, such as tooth implant surgery, to relax the patient and allow the dentist to complete the treatment safely.
Although it is sometimes referred to as sleep dentistry, the patient is often conscious during the procedure, depending on the type of sedation used. There are different levels of sedation:
- Mild or minimal sedation: the patient is fully awake but very relaxed and drowsy.
- Moderate or conscious sedation: the patient is awake and doesn’t need help breathing but often doesn’t remember the procedure. The patient can respond to stimulation, although when speaking, they may slur their words.
- Deep sedation: the patient is nearly unconscious and only has a purposeful response to painful and repeated stimulation. They might need breathing assistance, but the cardiovascular function is rarely impaired.
- General anesthesia: the patient is completely unconscious and requires breathing assistance. They do not respond to any level of stimulation or pain.
How Does IV Sedation Work?
IV sedation refers to administering an anti-anxiety drug directly into your bloodstream, putting you in a relaxed state, in which you are conscious but unresponsive and unaware of the procedure or any discomfort.
Common IV sedatives include midazolam, propofol, and ketamine. Depending on the drug you receive, you may not remember the dental procedure at all.
Administering a sedative drug through a vein allows the dentist to adjust the sedation level as they work. It is more fast-acting than oral sedation and suitable for complex procedures, including dental implants and wisdom tooth removal.
Your dentist will introduce a thin IV needle into a prominent vein in your hand or arm before undergoing a dental procedure. A tube is connected to the needles and dispenses the sedative into your bloodstream. Your dentist may apply a numbing cream to the injection site before using the needle to minimize discomfort.
Within minutes you will begin to feel calmer. Your dentist monitors your oxygen levels through the procedure and checks your blood pressure before and after to ensure that you have no adverse reactions to the sedative.
Who Can Benefit From Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation is not necessary for all dental patients. However, it is an extremely useful tool for dentists when treating patients who:
- Suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia.
- Have other forms of anxiety.
- Are resistant to local anesthetic.
- Have a very low pain tolerance.
- Have extra sensitive oral nerves.
- Find it difficult to sit still in the dentist’s chair.
- Have had a bad experience with past dental work.
- Have a sensitive gag reflex.
- Require a lot of dental work, particularly if they are long procedures.
The use of sedation dentistry can make the experience much less uncomfortable or stressful for the patient.
Find Out More About Sedation Dentistry
Many people are unaware of the options available for managing dental anxiety. Sedation makes dental treatment accessible to people who would otherwise avoid going to the dentist.
If you are curious if IV sedation dentistry could work for you, contact Valley Dental Care today. We’d be happy to discuss your options and give you informed advice.