Can You Really Relax in the Dentist’s Chair?
Without dental care, your smile can suffer. And at Embrace Dentistry, we understand many smiles are neglected due to fear, anxiety, stress, or discomfort in the dental chair. This is why we choose to offer Sedation Dentistry (also known as "Sleep Dentistry"). It uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. This allows you to fearlessly step into our office in order to finally receive the dental care you’ve been putting off, possibly for years or even your entire life.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry uses medication to help you relax during dental procedures. Patients choose sedation dentistry for a variety of reasons:
- Some have a fear or anxiety about going to the dentist
- Have a bad gag reflex
- Get claustrophobic
- Have sensitive teeth
- Have had a bad experience in the past
Some people choose sedation because they want to accomplish years of worth of dental work in one setting, or they want an entirely new smile. Others may simply need one tooth worked on. And while sedation is often used for those with a fear of dentists, anyone can benefit from the relaxation. If you are one who would rather live in pain than going to the dentist, then sedation might be the option for you.
Can Any Dentist Perform Sedation?
Most dentists can administer minimal sedation (such as nitrous oxide or pills). An increasing number of dentists can give moderate sedation. However, only a small percentage of dentists who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program in deep sedation and general anesthesia can use these more complex techniques. Each state’s dental board carefully regulates the use of sedation techniques. Many states require dentists to hold permits in order to perform sedation.
To ensure a safe and predictable sedation, we will do our homework before you are ever considered for sedation. At Sioux Falls Sedation, it is very important to use that we provide you with the highest standard of care available. Therefore we have an in-house registered nurse and board certified anesthesiologist that will review your medical history and contact your medical doctor ahead of time if needed. Our anesthesiologist and nurse will also be by your side during your sedation visit to make sure we have taken every measure to ensure your safety.
What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?
- Inhaled minimal sedation - You breathe nitrous oxide (otherwise known as “laughing gas”) combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
- Oral sedation - Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
- IV moderate sedation - You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you’ll also typically need a local anesthetic — numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth — to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.
How Safe Is Sedation Dentistry?
Safety is number one when considering going to sleep to have dental work completed. This is why at Embrace Dentistry, we employ a registered nurse to review your medical history. She will speak with your medical doctor and our in house anesthesiologist in order to provide the highest standard of care available. Only after any health concerns have been addressed will we consider sedation.
Because we use board certified anesthesiologists to administer your anesthesia, your health and safety is able to remain number one during your entire procedure, which allows our dentist to concentrate on doing the best job for your oral health.
Rai, K, Hegde, A, and Goel, K. Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry,2007; vol 32: pp 1-4.
American Dental Association: “Policy Statement: The Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists.”
Joel M. Weaver, DDS, PhD, dentist anesthesiologist; emeritus professor, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University; spokesman, American Dental Association.
American Dental Association: “Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and Anesthesia by Dentists.”