If you experience anxiety when going to the dentist, even for regular visits – don’t worry, you are not alone! Anxiety or trepidation about the dentist is very common. Even though advancements in dental technology had drastically decreased the amount of discomfort experienced during treatment and increased the levels of comfort, people might still be anxious.
Despite these advancements, there is a solution that dentists can offer called sedation dentistry that can help to alleviate that fear! During sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry, the patient is administered a type of sedation that reduces anxiety while in the dental chair. There are even options to be ‘asleep’ during the entire procedure.
What Qualifies as Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to the practice of dental procedures where the patient is sedated using various methods to ensure a more comfortable dental procedure. Sedation can range from a level where the patient is awake but calm, to general anesthesia where they are entirely unconscious. At Northern Dental Care, we help you determine the appropriate level for each patient.
What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry allows you to receive the dental care that you need while reducing the fear and anxiety often associated with dental treatment. You can take comfort in knowing that absolutely nothing will be done until you are completely comfortable. It is also a good option to complete your child’s dentistry without multiple dental appointments. Individuals with mental or physical disabilities who are unable to cooperate for dental treatment can benefit from sedation dentistry.
What are the Types of Sedation Dentistry?
There are several different types of Sedation Dentistry:
Nitrous Oxide Sedation – Also known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide is administered using a facemask connected to a regulated tank. This type of sedation allows the patient to feel relaxed while remaining conscious. Nitrous oxide sedation is typically used in cases of mild to moderate anxiety. It also wears off quickly so the patient can resume their daily activities.
Oral Conscious Sedation – Oral conscious sedation is a deeper level of sedation compared to nitrous oxide. The medication is taken by mouth and makes you feel very sleepy. Although you will still be conscious, it will usually feel like you are dreaming or taking a light nap. Oral sedation lasts for several hours, and in most cases, more treatment can be completed in one visit.
Oral sedation is one of the safest options for sedation in the dental office. Nearly all healthy patients are candidates, and it works for those 11 and older (we have options for younger children as well). The medication has a wide margin of safety and is administered when you arrive at the office. Local anesthetic is still required to make sure you are comfortable – it is given after you are sedated and before treatment begins. As a result of the properties of the medication used, most patients report little to no memory of the visit. You will need a ride to and from the appointment and there are special precautions to follow before the visit.
IV Sedation – Also known as deep sedation or twilight sedation, IV (Intravenous) sedation is normally recommended for patients with a very high level of anxiety. IV Sedation requires licensing by the dentist and dental staff. They continuously monitor the patient’s vital signs during the procedure, and it can be preferred when a large dental procedure is needed to ensure that it is completed in a timely manner. At Northern Dental, we only offer IV sedation for those requiring extractions. Patients receiving IV sedation will require a ride to and from their appointment and will have special precautions to follow before their visit.
General Anaesthesia for Children – General anesthesia is good alternative for children because it allows routine or complex dental treatment to be performed in an unconscious state. This is the type of sedation you would have in a hospital operating room where you are completely unconscious throughout the treatment time. It begins with a gas that is inhaled through a mask and then a mediation is delivered through an IV line. The IV is placed after you are sedated with the inhaled gas, so it works well for all patients, including those with a phobia of needles. General anesthesia is the most common form of sedation used for complex treatments and children needing a lot of dentistry done in one visit.
General anesthesia requires specialized equipment and is administered by an anesthesia specialist who, along with the anesthesia team of Registered Nurses, will ensure a safe visit. You will need a ride to and from the appointment and there are special precautions to follow before the visit.
Don’t let your fear of the dentist hold you back from taking care of your oral health. Contact our office, located conveniently in Sault Ste Marie and let our team know about any dental anxiety you may have. We will be able to answer any of your questions and provide information regarding sedation dentistry options for you in Sault Ste Marie.