Serene Dental Sedation Dentistry
Most of the time, a visit to the dentist involves preventative care to keep your oral health in good shape. That’s why most dentists recommend regular checkups, usually twice a year, so that any problems can be caught early.
But sometimes life gets in the way and you miss your annual or biannual visits, and those minor issues become major problems. When that happens, the first sign is often severe tooth pain.
By the time you decide the pain isn’t going to go away and finally schedule a visit to Serene Dental, what could have been an easy fix is now something that needs a surgical procedure.
When your dentist recommends sedation to take care of whatever is going on in your teeth and gums, you are probably going to be concerned about what that involves. That’s normal when it comes to anything that mixes needles and anesthesia. But before you fall down the rabbit hole of worrying about the possible things that could go wrong or the pain you might experience, it’s important to learn about what sedation dentistry includes.
Why Do You Need Sedation?
Even if you’re not in pain now from the problems that are going on in your mouth, the fact is that tooth pain usually gets painful eventually. As the tooth decays or erodes, the nerve becomes exposed. That’s where the pain comes into play.
If you have a really decayed tooth without any pain, that could be an even worse sign. It means the tooth is so far gone that the nerve is dead. You can’t feel all the infection and other issues going on, and it can get in your bloodstream and cause sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening complication that happens when your body reacts to extreme infection.
When your dentist tells you that you need a procedure to prevent this, and that procedure requires sedation, it’s not a suggestion to take lightly or ignore. At the least, you could lose your tooth. But if complications occur, it could become a serious health problem.
Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective solution to complex dental issues. It’s used by trained dentists all over the world as a way to help patients relax during their procedure to safely get the problem fixed.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a field of dental care that professionals are trained in so they can care for patients with more than a local anesthetic. Not every dentist has the special education need to do the job, so if you find one that does, like the experts at Serene Dental, you can trust that they have the knowledge to treat you safely.
Still, it’s understandable that you’re concerned, as the idea of being sedated is often scary. But with dental sedation, you have different options. Your dentist will talk to you about the pros and cons of each one to come up with a treatment.
However, knowing the answers to some common questions can help you better understand what to expect with your sedation.
- What is conscious sedation? There is a common misconception about sedation that says you have to be unconscious for it to work. In reality, there are some types of sedation that put a person into an unconscious state, but there are many other options that keep you conscious.
There are four different levels of sedation, ranging from minimal to fully unconscious. In minimal sedation, you’re awake but you feel calm and relaxed. Moderate sedation, which is also called “conscious sedation,” is the next level, where you’re awake, but you probably won’t remember much of the procedure and you have a hard time speaking.
In deep sedation, you’re still conscious but you’re in more of a dreamlike state, in and out of consciousness and easily awakened. The final level is general anesthesia, where you’re completely unconscious.
- What are the common types of sedation? The sedation in dentistry falls into four main categories. The first level is inhaled minimal sedation. You breathe in the gas, or nitrous oxide, through a mask or tube over your nose. The amount of gas can be controlled and it wears off fast, so you can drive home after your procedure.
The second level is oral sedation, which can be given in minimal or moderate doses. With minimal doses, you are usually given a pill that makes you drowsy but you’ll stay awake. With a larger dose, you’ll have a more moderate reaction, and you may end up feeling groggy or falling asleep.
Moderate sedation is given through an IV in the vein. It works fast and lets the dentist adjust how much of the medicine you’re given. Deep sedation is the final level, and you’re given medications that make you nearly unconscious or fully unconscious. Until the anesthesia wears off or you’re given another medication that reverses the effects, it will be hard to wake you up.
- What does laughing gas do? The first type of sedation many people think of when it comes to dentistry is laughing gas. This version was popularized through movies, but there are many other options that are preferred by dentists and patients.
Laughing gas is actually nitrous oxide, a colorless, odorless substance that can be inhaled. It’s one of the easiest types of sedation there is, but its effects wear off quickly. Since it brings you to a state of relaxed euphoria fast, it’s a favorite. Plus, because your internal filter is inhibited for a short while, it makes for some humorous conversations.
- What are the side effects of laughing gas? Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is used as a mild sedative to alleviate anxiety in patients before a procedure. It’s safe and effective, but side effects can occur. These are usually short-term and can include symptoms like shivering, sweating, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. However, most people don’t have any complications or side effects.
- Why do you need oxygen with nitrous oxide? If you and your dentist decide on nitrous oxide for your sedation, an air tube is used to feed into your body through your nose. This can limit the oxygen intake you are getting. In most cases, you won’t need extra oxygen, but if your dentist is concerned about your normal breathing, they may suggest giving you a little extra oxygen feed.
- What is IV sedation? Sometimes people with anxiety or those who are extra concerned about their procedure need a little more help to relax. In those situations, IV sedation is possible. With this type of sedation, the medicine gets into your bloodstream almost immediately, so you get the effects fast.
- Is sedation expensive? In the past, sedation was expensive because the technology and resources weren’t as readily accessible. If you didn’t meet the medical requirements, you may have had to go without sedation.
Now, though, there are many different options that are available for those with special needs. Whether it’s your healthcare or your budget that is the concern, there is a type of sedation that will fit your criteria.
In addition, a lot of dental insurances will cover at least part of the sedation. This depends on your coverage and the type of sedation. The knowledgeable staff at Serene Dental will help you understand what sedation you’re a candidate for and what the costs will be out of your pocket.
As you can see, there are a lot of natural questions and concerns that most people have. You probably recognized at least a few of these questions as ones that you were wondering, too!
There is no need to be embarrassed or hesitant to ask us anything you want to know. We would rather you be informed and go ahead with the procedure than be unsure and scared. If that’s the case, you might choose to hold off on a complicated but safe fix until it’s too late and the problem becomes dangerous.
If you have more questions beyond these, a consultation with your dentist can clear up any more concerns that you have.
It’s important that you feel confident in the dentist who is handling your dental procedure and providing your sedation medication to you. They need to have the expertise to know which options work for you based on your medical history and healthcare needs, as well as your level of anxiety.
Your dentist also must be an expert in providing just the right level of anesthesia medication to you and knowing how to take care of you after the procedure is over. At Serene Dental, our professional staff will guide you through what to expect from start to finish and be there to help you with any concerns after your treatment.
When you think you’re going to need a dental fix that will require sedation, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Turn to Serene Dental and call us today to schedule an appointment. We will answer your questions, address your concerns, and get you on your way to a healthy, pain-free mouth quickly!