Sedation Dentistry


A Visit To Your Dentist Be A Relaxing Experience!

The very idea of visiting a dentist, even for a routine cleaning, is often enough to strike fear into the very hearts of many people. After cost, dental phobias are often cited as the reason people do not get the dental care they need in a timely fashion. For some people, taking some over-the-counter pain relief for a toothache is preferable to spending time in the dentist’s chair. However, avoiding cleanings and ignoring minor tooth pain is putting yourself on the fast track to major dental problems and permanent damage to your teeth and overall health. Fortunately, there is a solution to this common phenomenon. Sedation dentistry, sometimes called “sleep dentistry”, is rapidly gaining popularity with patients and dentists alike. Whether you are simply afraid to have your teeth cleaned or are in need of long, extensive procedures, new advances in dental medicine mean you can be relaxed, if not outright asleep, during your entire procedure.

How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

There are several different varieties of sedation dentistry, but all of them have the same basic goal – using medication to make a visit to the dentist as painless and pleasant as possible. There are three primary levels of sedation, so you can easily find the right level for your particular case.

The first is minimal sedation. This is the most common type of sedation. You will be awake during your procedure, but will feel more relaxed. The most common form of this type of sedation is nitrous oxide gas (also known as laughing gas), however, some dentists will also prescribe a mild sedative such as Valium for you to take about an hour before the procedure. If your dental fears are mild, this may be all you need, however for serious cases or if you will be undergoing painful procedures, it may not be enough.

The next level of sedation is moderate sedation, sometimes called “conscious sedation”. For this, your dentist will prescribe a stronger sedative or a larger dose of Halcion or Valium. Sometimes the medication is prescribed as a pill, other times administered via an IV. The sedation effect is enough to make you groggy so that, even though you are partially awake, most patients have no memory of their procedure. Others are able to fall asleep completely, but can be awakened after their procedure fairly easily. When the drug is administered via IV, the dentist has the additional advantage of being able to adjust the dosage during the procedure.

The strongest forms of sedation are deep sedation and general anesthesia. If you have deep sedation, you will be completely or at least nearly unconscious throughout your procedure. Depending on your dentist and your area, general anesthesia (as is used for surgery) can be used, though sometimes you will have to have your procedure done in a hospital setting. Again, this can vary depending on local ordinances and the preferences of the dentist. When you are deeply sedated, you are unaware of anything that is going on and will feel zero pain. Unlike moderate sedation, the effects of deep sedation will take longer to wear off, unless it is reversed using different medications.

Sedation dentistry is rapidly gaining favor, and for good reason. It benefits the dentist, who doesn’t have to worry about working on a flinching and fearful patient, and it benefits the patient, especially those who would never visit the dentist otherwise. If you are in need of sedation dental care, Dr. Zirker can help you sleep your way to good dental health!

Zirker Family Dentistry~

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