What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to the practice of using medication to help patients relax during dental procedures.
It is crucial to remember that dental sedation is not pain management. Dental sedation uses a variety of tools to relax the patient and in some cases will leave you with no memory of the procedure at all. The type of dental sedation that’s right for you will be determined by the oral care treatments needed, your overall health, and other factors.
Sedation can take place though an inhaled gas, a simple pill or medication administered through an IV. There are 3 kinds of sedation categories:
Mild sedation: Mild dental sedation is achieved when the patient inhales a gas called nitrous oxide, which is commonly referred to as laughing gas. This is the lightest form of dental sedation used, and it provides a very gentle and light level of relaxation. The patient is awake but relaxed.
Moderate sedation: Moderate sedation involves taking a pill, such as Valium or Halcion, an hour or two before a scheduled dental appointment. These medications produce a strong sense of relaxation, some are so relaxed they fall asleep.
Deep sedation: For this level of sedation, pain-relieving and sedative drugs are administered through an IV line, causing the patient to be very relaxed during the dental procedure. Patients remain conscious with use of this method and can communicate with the dentist or doctor, but they are extremely calm and peaceful. They may not remember much of the procedure afterward.
General anesthesia: Sometimes dentists may use general anesthesia, which means that a patient is completely unconscious and cannot be easily awakened during treatment. This is used much less frequently for dental procedures than the lesser levels of sedation listed.