Women in dentist chair

Understanding dental sedation

Sedation dentistry is a common practice, designed to keep patients calm and more comfortable during difficult or lengthy dental procedures.

Before the treatment commences, your dentist or sedation expert will place a drip into a vein in your arm. This will induce a sense of relaxation and drowsiness, although you will remain awake during the procedure, capable of both communication and following instructions as needed. You will also be given a local anesthetic to ensure that you experience no pain from the treatment.

Throughout the procedure, monitoring devices will be keeping tabs on your vital signs. Even if the entire treatment lasts for one or two hours, it will likely feel like only a few minutes have passed, due to the effects of sedation. Plus, you will have minimal or no memory of the procedure, owing to the amnesic effects of the IV sedation.

When is sedation used in dentistry

Sedation is employed in dentistry for a variety of procedures, and sometimes even for more basic procedures if seen fit.

For instance, sedation dentistry is often used for patients receiving dental implants, and for those undergoing wisdom teeth extraction. Both these procedures can be distressing, especially if the wisdom teeth are impacted or situated in awkward positions.

Another frequent use of sedation is during full clearances, where it becomes necessary to extract all or a majority of teeth. Essentially, sedation is beneficial for any procedure that lasts a considerable amount of time and could be uncomfortable or nerve-wracking for the patient.

Hence, it is sometimes also used for patients who have dental phobias or a severe gag reflex.

How to decide if you should opt for sedation

In certain situations, your dentist might suggest sedation for a future procedure. You have the option to decline the sedation if you’d rather not have it, but typically, if a dentist recommends this choice, it’s likely because the procedure would be drawn-out and uncomfortable without it.

That being said, you can also discuss sedation with your dentist if you feel anxious or worried about a treatment. If sedation allows you to proceed with a treatment that’s necessary for your oral health rather than delaying it indefinitely, then it could be an excellent choice for you.

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