Sedation dentistry is a field in dental care that focuses of the techniques used to help patients stay calm before and during dental procedures. It is not to be confused with pain management methods that your dentist may use to numb you for specific dental procedures. Sedation uses sedative drugs such as tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medications that are administered in variety of ways to establish a relaxed, calm and easy state of mind.
At Tarpon Shores Dental, there are three main ways used to administer sedation: inhalation, oral and IV. All of them are effective at managing dental anxiety but your dentist will usually help determine which method suits you best.
For inhalation, nitrous oxide which is commonly known as laughing gas is used. It is best for patients with mild to moderate anxiety. The gas is colorless, odorless and most importantly does not irritate your nose or mouth in any way. You will be asked to wear a mask and inhale the gas, after which you will start to feel a sense of calmness. You may have to repeatedly breathe in the gas depending on how long the procedure is. Also, while the gas completely relaxes you, you will still remain conscious and fully aware of your surroundings. Recovery from oral sedation is fast and often without any side effects.
This is a common method for sedation for most dentists in Venice. A prescription pill will be administered and after an hour or so of taking it, you will be relaxed and ready for your procedure. In some cases, you might need to take the sedative pill a night before and again an hour before the procedure. this works best for people with extreme dental anxiety or phobia. It leaves the patient conscious but with very limited understanding of their surroundings. Most people remember very little or nothing at all, after the procedure is completed. The only problem with it is that it takes quite a while too set in when compared to other sedation methods. Also, you will need companion care after the procedure since its effects do not wear out immediately.
These refers to sedatives that are administered intravenously. There are a few variations to it where there is a method know as ‘twilight’ that leaves you conscious but oblivious to your surroundings. You may fall asleep once it kicks in but you are not unconscious as the dentist can easily wake you up if need be.
The other method involves use of general anesthesia that knocks you off completely. You will be unconscious and it may take a while for you to come around even after the procedure is complete. This type of sedation is rarely used and only reserved for patients that have to undergo invasive dental work like oral surgery. It requires the assistance of a well-trained anesthesiologist who will administer it and monitor your vital signs all through the procedure.
The best thing about sedation dentistry is that it encourages all types of people to seek dental care. Statistics show that there is a significant number of people that avoid visiting the dentist for reasons such as dental phobia, disabilities or maybe due to horrible dental experiences in the past. So, people who wouldn’t ordinarily get routine dental care can overcome their fear and commit to taking better care of their oral health through regular dental visits.
While there is a lot of good that can be realized from dental sedation, Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya insists on the need for a proper consultation with your dentist before settling on any type of sedative. This allows the dentist understand your fears and concerns and then determine the best method of sedation to use for your case. It also ensures your safety since through a consultation, the dentist gets a better understanding about the state of your oral and overall health before making any decisions. Also make sure that you are working with a well-trained and properly certified dentist for best results.