Many people, kids and adults, get very anxious at the very thought of seeing a dentist and have a hard time sitting still during a procedure. In fact, because 40% of Canadians fear going to the dentist, many people won’t even get a routine check up which can lead to bigger problems in the future.
But sedation dentistry can take away much of this anxiety by using medication to keep you relaxed whether you are doing a simple teeth cleaning or dental surgery. It doesn’t matter how major or minor the procedure, we can help you use the right level of sedation to relax.
Some people are confused because people often call sedation dentistry “sleep dentistry.” But in reality, our patients are usually awake during dental procedures. These are common reasons why people use sedation when they see the dentist:
- They have sensitive gag reflex
- They have general anxiety disorder
- Their mouth becomes sore during dental procedure
- They have very sensitive teeth
- They have low pain tolerance
We can use these levels of sedation depending on your comfort and level of fear during a procedure:
- Minimal sedation: You are awake but still relaxed
- Moderate sedation: You may not remember much of the procedure
- Deep sedation: You are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened
- General anesthesia: You are completely unconscious
The stronger the fear of a dental procedure, the higher the sedation level. When people are sedated, our dentists can complete procedures faster because they will not move around as much.
Common Types of Sedation Dentistry
These are the most common types of sedation we use:
Inhaled Sedation (Laughing Gas)
This type of sedation uses nitrous oxide and it’s effective to calm people’s nerves, put them in a relaxed state and reduce pain. The gas is given through a mask and patients are still awake, able to respond to directions and communicate. Your dentist controls the amount of sedation you receive and the gas wears off quickly.
With oral sedation, the dentist gives patients medication to take at home so they will feel more relaxed by the time they have their dental appointment. The strength of the medication depends on what your dentist feels is best and can range from minimal to moderate strength.
While the medication makes people feel drowsy, they are still awake. Some people fall asleep during a procedure in a state of total relaxation but they can be woken up easily.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Sedation dentistry is a safe and standard practice when it is performed by dentists like ours who have done extensive training and have the right accreditations.
If you are fit to use our sedation dentistry services, we recommend that people eat a light meal before the procedure and avoid stimulating drinks like coffee, teas and colas. During your procedure, we can help you relax like providing music that you enjoy. We encourage people to think about positive thoughts, and do deep breathing exercises and relax the muscles as much as possible.
While sedation is safe, not everyone will necessarily be able to use this relaxation method. If you’re interested in being sedated, our dentist will first review your medical history and the medications you’re currently taking to determine if you are fit for sedation.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for my Child?
Sedation is safe for children and it is very important important for parents to follow instructions, especially what food and drinks to avoid before sedation.
Like adults, the dentist will review the child’s full medical history as well as medications and supplements that are being taken. By using sedation, children won’t usually remember the details of their dental appointment. This lowers the risk of them developing dental phobias.