Relax at your Dental Visit With Sedation Dentistry

By: Lynn Fugaro

Sedation dentistry is a term that refers to the use of anesthesia during treatment to put dental patients into a relaxed state, almost like sleep. Sedation dentistry is often used during procedures that require an extensive amount of time in the treatment chair, and sedation is ideal for patients who exhibit dental phobia or have difficulty controlling their movements (including adults with Parkinson's or fidgety children). While sedation dentistry implies that patients are unconscious, this is usually not the case. Some forms of sedation dentistry simply alleviate anxiety or put patients in a sleep-like state, so that little is felt or remembered from the dentistry procedure.

There are different types and degrees of dental sedation; the sedation dentistry technique recommended by your dentist will depend upon the treatment being performed and/or the degree of your dental anxiety. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for moderate sedation with oral sedatives or nitrous oxide, or deeper sedation with intravenous drugs.

Who's a Candidate?
Are you a person who avoids having dental work done because you have a strong aversion to dental treatment? If so, you are not alone. Research shows that the most prevalent reason people put off visiting the dentist is dental anxiety. While your feelings are understandable, delaying dental treatment can cause relatively minor dental problems, such as gum disease, to become major dental issues that require extensive intervention. With the option of sedation dentistry, you can overcome your anxieties and get the treatment you need. Even procedures such as root canals can be non-traumatic. As an added benefit, sedation dentistry allows patients to combine multiple procedures into one or two visits, saving time and limiting inconvenience.

Sedation dentistry could be right for you if you exhibit any of the following:
?Dental Anxiety
?Sensitive Teeth
?Difficulty Getting Numb
?Complex Dental Issues
?Dental Phobias - Fear of Needles
?Limited Time to Complete Dental Work
?Traumatic Dental Experiences

Patients who have a medical condition should notify their dentist about the condition prior to a sedation dentistry procedure. Patients should also notify their dentist about any medications they are currently taking. Any previous allergic reactions to medications should also be reported to the sedation dentist. Sedation dentistry is generally reserved for patients who are 18 years old and older. However, there are pediatric sedation dentists available to treat children who cannot tolerate dental work.

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