Almost everyone will express the dislike they have for going to get dental work. This dislike, however, pales in comparison to the estimated fifteen percent of those in the United States who have such a strong fear of the dentist that they often will try and live with the pain of a toothache rather than step into a dental office. Unfortunately, these people are often the most in need of dental work because the fear has kept them from regular cleanings. With sedation dentistry, these individuals may find relief from their fear.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
A person experiencing extreme fear, and those who have a low pain threshold, are given a medication that works to produce relaxation. This then enables the person to be able to undergo dental procedures without having a panic attack or other manifestation of their fear.
What Options for Sedation are Available?
Sedation comes in four main strengths, from a minor dulling of fear to complete sedation. Only the minimal form allows a person to drive themselves home afterwards. The different forms are:
*Minimum sedation is achieved by inhaling a substance, such as laughing gas, that relaxes you and makes it possible for the dentist to perform the necessary procedures.
*Oral sedation involves taking a pill that is in the same family as Valium. You remain awake, although keeping still sees many falling asleep in the chair. This sleep, however, allows a person to be easily awakened.
*Conscious sedation involves administering a sedation medication directly into your bloodstream by way of an IV. How deeply a person is sedated with this depends upon the amount given and individual reaction. Reactions vary from feeling drunk enough to slur your speech to actually falling asleep. This is a very easily adjusted method.
*General anesthetic is the same state that is used for major surgeries in any hospital situation. You are completely asleep until the medication wears off.
Is The Sedation Safe?
Any sedation can carry a measure of risk. Your dentist will evaluate you and take a medical history before administering any. Your age and overall health will be considered. In most cases, there are no adverse reactions experienced in perfectly healthy people.
Can Any Dentist Provide Sedation Dentistry?
Dentists vary on what kinds of sedation they can provide. The majority are allowed to use laughing gas or pill sedation. Fewer are allowed to administer conscious sedation. For the highest degree of sedation, dentists must complete the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program. In addition, most states require a dentist to carry a permit in order to administer sedation. In all cases, there are many rules and regulations in place that a dentist must adhere to or lose his permit to perform sedation.
Nobody can narrow dental phobias down to one cause, but sedation dentistry has made it possible for even the most fearful to take care of their dental health. In most instances, your dentist will suggest the lowest form of sedation that is necessary to get you comfortably through your visit. In spite of popular opinion, your dentist does not enjoy seeing people in pain.