Sedation Dentistry Options

By: Matthew Candelaria

Patients who feel tremendous anxiety about dental visits may be prevented by this anxiety from receiving the primary dental care they need, let alone considering any optional cosmetic dental treatments. Even something as simple as a routine cleaning or tooth whitening can reduce these patients to paroxysms of fear. For these patients, sedation or sleep dentistry offers one way they can get the treatment they need without the anxiety that has kept them away. Right now there are three main forms of sleep dentistry available. Ask your sedation dentist what forms he or she offers and what he or she thinks might be best for you.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is the most common form of sedation dentistry. In this form of sedation dentistry, the patient is given a pill, usually a prescription sleeping pill, that relaxes him or her during the entire procedure. The pill is usually taken about an hour before the patient comes to the dental office, so that by the time he or she arrives, full relaxation has set in. The advantages of this procedure are:

?It is relatively inexpensive
?Patients are relaxed before they come to the dentist, reducing the likelihood that they will skip treatment at the last minute

Anesthesiologist-controlled IV Sedation

IV sedation is where an anesthesiologist will intravenously administer a solution containing sedatives. The anesthesiologist targets a particular concentration of sedative, which is reached before the procedure is begun. The advantages to this procedure are:

?The sedation can be more quickly tailored to alterations in the patient's state of consciousness
?Little concern that the procedure will run too long, leading to patient wakefulness

Patient-controlled IV Sedation

In this procedure, the patient is given an intravenous dose of a solution containing sedatives, but in this case the patient is given the ability to increase his or her dose depending on his or her anxiety level. Studies have shown that there is no additional risk of complications in patient-controlled sedation as compared to anesthesiologist-controlled sedation. The advantages of patient-controlled sedation are:

?Uses less sedative than anesthesiologist-controlled sedation
?Gives patients control over their fears
?More popular among patients

If you have anxieties about seeing the dentist, don't let them keep you away from getting the treatments you need or desire. Instead, contact your dentist about the option of sedation dentistry and learn how it might be able to make your next procedure as pleasant as a Sunday afternoon nap.

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