Dental Sedation: What is It and When Is It Used?

Dental Sedation: What is It and When Is It Used?

Oct 14, 2021

What is Dental Sedation?

Sedation dentistry is a method of controlling anxiety and discomfort using medication. It is often used during complex dental procedures like tooth extractions or other procedures that are painful.

However, if you have severe phobia and anxiety, the dentist may recommend dental sedation to relax and keep you calm during a procedure.

Sedation dentistry in Encinitas, CA, is not done in hospitals but in dental clinics. Dentists give you medication to control your anxiety by loosening muscles affecting the heart, breathing, and blood pressure. Sedation dentists use safer dental anesthetics with fewer side effects.

Why Is It Recommended?

Dental sedation is recommended when you have severe dental phobia and anxiety. If you have a gag reflex, the dentist in Encinitas, CA, may also decide to sedate you. While a gag reflex is a natural occurrence, it can interfere with the dental procedure.

If you have a low threshold of pain, you may need sedation. This is because dental sedation not only relaxes you but can also reduce pain.

Sedation dentistry may be preferred in case of emotional problems or memory impairment due to extreme age and other medical reasons. Sedations do not address the cause of your phobia or anxiety, they simply ease the symptoms of it by making you feel calm and relaxed.

It is, however, not commonly used in mild dental procedures without pain or discomfort.

Sedation dentistry is intended to allow you to lie comfortably during a dental procedure. The medication can be administered in the form of an injection or oral pills.

What Are the Different Types of Sedation?

Dental sedation is available in different types that range from mild to deep. The dentist will choose the ideal one based on the type of procedure and the severity of the dental phobia.

Sedation dentistry does not mean complete loss of awareness or unconsciousness. Most dental sedation versions will relax you, but not cause you to get unconscious, meaning you will be aware of what is happening during the procedure.

  • Inhaled sedation

Laughing gas is the most commonly used sedation because it is mild, takes effect quickly, and wears out just as fast. Inhaled sedation is also recommended for the children as it has no or fewer symptoms.

  • Oral sedation

Mouth or pill sedation is used for those moderate dental procedures. The dentist will give a pill a couple of hours before the procedure, so it can metabolize. The one downside to oral sedation is that the dentist cannot adjust the dosage given.

Also, you may drift to sleep, but can be woken up with a gentle shake. It may take a few hours for the pill sedation to wear out, depending on the type of sedation used.

  • Intravenous sedation

IV sedation is the most potent and least used type of sedation dentistry. It takes effect quickly but lasts longer than laughing gas or oral sedation. The dentist can adjust the dosage to suit individual patient needs.

IV sedation is not recommended for children as it may cause complications when wearing off. The patient has to be accompanied by somebody else since they would be unable to drive.

This form of sedation should be done by a dentist licensed to carry out sedation and general anesthesia.

  • General or deep sedation

Sedation dentistry that induces a deep sleep is usually administered with the aid of pain-killing drugs. Sedation dentists are required to be trained and certified in their use. It lasts longer than local or laughing gas and is more potent than IV sedation. Deep sedation will cause you to become unconscious, and the dentist will use medication to lower the effects and wake you up.

What are the Side Effects of Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation can cause some side effects like nausea, vomiting, grogginess, and drowsiness. The dentist will keep you in the recovery room for a while to observe the symptoms before releasing you to go home.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Steve Horne DDS for more information about dental sedation and its benefits.