Getting a dental appointment may sometimes make some people feel uncomfortable and considering dental sedation can help you feel more relaxed. In Sarnia, some dentists use sedatives to help calm down the nerves of their patients during different types of dental treatments, from simple teeth cleanings to surgical procedures. Sedation dentistry is the most effective solution to ensure patients have anxiety-free, relaxing dental treatment experience.
Is Dental Sedation Safe?
While dental sedation may sound appealing, you may not be a good candidate for every sedation type. For instance, you may not have a problem with nitrous oxide sedation, which is the safest for many dental patients. However, the problem can potentially arise when you undergo oral sedation or sleep dentistry, which can lead to side effects.
Sedation dentistry is a tried and tested practice and is safe when administered by a trained dental professional. Dentists observe strict medical guidelines for the correct amounts of sedatives and techniques used to ensure the safety of the patient at all times. However, some factors, such as unhealthy lifestyle (smoking and drinking alcohol), certain medications, and health conditions (sleep apnea), may prevent the dentist from administering sedatives to the patient. The dentist may need to thoroughly assess the health history of the patient before they can proceed with sedation. Also, the dentist will need to constantly monitor the patient’s vital signs throughout the procedure and has oxygen and drugs ready at hand to reverse the effects of sedation.
What Can You Do Before Undergoing Sedation Dentistry?
Before your scheduled dental procedure, make sure that the dentist is qualified to carry out the type of sedation that will be given to you. Give your dentist with your complete medical history, as well as your age, to ensure that you are a good candidate. Do not hesitate to ask questions, such as the FDA-approved sedative dosage and what to expect during and after sedation. You will need to fill in a form that gives your consent to the sedation. Make sure to read the information carefully before filling it in. If you need clarifications on certain specified points, ask your dentist for more information.
What Does Dental Sedation Feel Like?
Depending on the type of sedation recommended, some people may feel mildly relaxed or even fall asleep during the treatment procedure.
- Laughing Gas
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is the most common and the least invasive type of sedative used in dental procedures. It is generally safe to use and has no complications. The dentist will administer the nitrous oxide through a mask that covers your nose. You simply have to breathe it to take the gas. Nitrous oxide comes with different scents, such as grape and cherry, so it may have a fruity flavour. The gas will start to make you feel relaxed in a few minutes. Nitrous oxide can give you a sense of euphoria, making the patients feel silly and giggly.
Fortunately, the effects of nitrous oxide quickly subside once you stop breathing the gas. Many patients have reported no side effects and went on to resume their usual activities after their dental appointment. It is also safe to drive after your appointment, as the effects of the nitrous oxide will no longer be present.
- Oral Sedation
Oral sedation, which is also known as “conscious sedation,” is taken in pill form. The dentist will often give you a prescription for 2 doses—one for the night before the procedure and the other to take an hour or so before the appointment to help you feel relaxed during the dental treatment. Unlike nitrous oxide, oral sedation can make you feel drowsy but relaxed. However, you are still awake and conscious and can respond to questions and requests. In some cases, oral sedation can make you extremely groggy and even fall asleep. However, the dentist can wake you up if needed. Patients who had oral dental sedation can describe the experience as being in a dream-like state. Even if you are awake and conscious, it might not feel quite real. This causes you to forget what happened for the most part of the procedure once the dental sedation drug wears off.
The effects of oral sedation can take a few hours to wear off that is why it is important to have a family member or a friend drive you to and from your appointment. It is imperative that they understand all the dentist’s instructions and share them with you.
- IV Dental Sedation
IV sedation is the most invasive form of dental sedation and is only given to severely anxious patients. The dentist administers the drug through an intravenous needle in your arm and monitors the dose throughout the procedure. Among the most common effects of IV sedation include slurred speech and loss of memory. You will likely not able to remember what happened during the procedure. IV sedation is a deeper level of sedation compared to other dental sedation methods. Make sure to bring someone who can drive you home and stay with you for the rest of the day.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is a safe and an effective method that also comes with various benefits, including:
- Anxiety Relief – Dental sedation allows patients to feel calm and relaxed going through their procedures. It helps people to be more comfortable while receiving the dental care they need.
- Anterograde Amnesia – Who would have thought that amnesia can be beneficial, especially if you are too overwhelmed about getting a teeth extraction or dental implant procedure? With IV sedation, the patients will have no memory of what happened during the treatment, so they will be more relaxed during their next visits.
- Gag Reflex Reduction – Sedation can help prevent your gag reflex while the dentist works on your mouth. This allows the dentist to work more quickly and efficiently while you feel much more relaxed and comfortable during the procedure.
- Pain Relief – Every patient wants pain-free dental care. Sedation dentistry can remove pain using powerful sedatives.
- Allows Dentist to Work Faster – Letting the patients sleep prevents them from squirming around on the dental chair. This enables the dentist to work efficiently and finish the treatment more quickly.
How to Prepare for Dental Sedation
Before getting dental sedation, there are a few things that you should do to prepare. Here are several helpful tips that will help you get ready for sedation and dental procedure.
- Drink Plenty of Water the Day Before Your Appointment – Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water before your dental visit to keep you hydrated the day of your sedation and dental procedure. The dentist will prohibit you from drinking and eating anything on the day of your sedation. You should always consult with your dentist on specific instructions for your sedation appointment.
- Empty Your Stomach – As a general rule in dental sedation, it is imperative you keep your stomach empty before your appointment. You should have nothing after midnight the night before your appointment. While sedation can help you keep calm and relaxed, it can make a patient feel nauseous. Again, consult with your dentist for specific instructions for your sedation appointment.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes – The dentist will advise their patients to wear their most comfortable clothes during the procedure. Avoid wearing stiff clothes, clothes with binding waistbands and scratchy seams, and high-heeled shoes.
- Bring Someone to Take You Home – To ensure your safety, make sure to take someone who can drive you to the dental clinic and back to your home. You may still feel groggy after the procedure and should not be driving.
- Cancel All Your Appointments – If you are scheduled to receive IV sedation, make sure not to make plans the rest of the day after your appointment. While you may be awake and active, you need to avoid anything that would require serious brainpower, like operating machinery or other potentially dangerous activities.
What Can You Expect During Sedation?
Whatever type of dental sedation is administered to you, the dentist will carefully monitor your vital signs, such as your heart rate and blood pressure to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the sedative through the dental procedure.
Children undergoing dental sedation may experience aftereffects, including nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. That is why dentists often advise the parents to monitor their children constantly after the procedure and to not allow them to go back to school or daycare after the procedure.
Putting off a visit to the dentist for a long time can have a serious impact on your oral health. Given the availability of sedation techniques today, you have no reason to take your dental health for granted.
If you are interested in sedation dentistry, look for a dentist that has adequate training and years of experience in carrying out sedation procedure. Dentists offering sedation services must have specialized training in sedative drugs, techniques, equipment, and more to ensure they fully develop the necessary skills required to practice sedation dentistry safely.
Lambton Family Dental offers full sedation dentistry services for a gentle and pain-free dental care experience. If want to know how we can help you feel more relaxed at your next dental appointment, talk to our warm and friendly dental staff and let us know about your concerns. Give us a call today at (519) 344-5747 or fill in our contact form to send us your message or queries.