Types of Sedation Dentistry
The fear of undergoing dental treatment is one of the most common phobias among people of all ages. Dental phobia can take many possible forms, from mild anxiety to absolute dread. Some people have a natural fear that they simply cannot control, while others develop their phobias due to a traumatic past experience. Whatever the case, fear of dental work is a very real, very serious problem.
Nashville cosmetic dentist Clint Newman believes that the dental experience can, and should, be a pleasant, stress-free one. He values the comfort, safety, and overall satisfaction of his patients above all else, and does whatever he can to ensure that they feel relaxed and at ease.
True Sleep Dentistry
True Sleep dentistry, or general anesthesia, is a form of sedation that results in a total state of relaxation. When under general anesthesia, a patient is unconscious and not able to respond to or be aware of commands or external stimulants. This deep level of sedation allows for complex, multi-stage dental procedures to be performed in one sitting, and leaves the patient with no memory of his or her treatment. For patients who experience dental phobia or dental anxiety, as well as those who may require more advanced treatment or have special needs, sleep dentistry provides Dr. Newman with complete control over all aspects of the treatment while providing for an unparalleled level of comfort on the part of the patient.
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Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although patients actually remain awake while sedated. Oral conscious sedation involves the taking of a sedative pill about an hour before the scheduled procedure. By the time the procedure begins, the patient is drifting pleasantly, able to respond to verbal stimuli but oblivious to any unpleasant sights, sounds, and sensations.
Patients generally emerge from treatment with little to no memory of the procedure. They have to be driven home from the dental office; however, the effects of the sedative wear off fairly quickly. At our practice in Nashville, sedation dentistry using the oral conscious method is often recommended to anxious patients.
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Inhalation Sedation – Nitrous Oxide
One of the most common and popular forms of sedation dentistry, inhalation sedation involves the administration of nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas.” Nitrous oxide helps to take the edge off of any procedure, and its effects wear off within minutes of the procedure’s end. The nitrous oxide takes effect almost immediately and replaces any discomfort or pain the patient might have experienced with a feeling of euphoria. It is also highly effective in helping to control severe gag reflexes.
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Intravenous (IV) Sedation
As the name suggests, this method of sedation involves the introduction of sedative drugs into the bloodstream via a needle placed in a vein. As with oral conscious sedation and inhalation sedation, IV sedation is completely safe. The patient remains awake throughout the procedure, yet will have no real sense of time. Hours will pass as though they were minutes.
Patients who undergo IV sedation may still require local anesthesia. IV sedation is used primarily to control anxiety rather than to make the patient insensitive to pain. That said, a painkiller may also be introduced via the IV.
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Candidacy for Sedation Dentistry
- People with dental phobia
- People with a poor gag reflex
- People who have jaw joint issues
- People who require major dental work
- People who have issues with sitting still
- People with Parkinson’s or cerebral palsy
To learn more about sedation dentistry and whether it might be right for you, please contact our Nashville cosmetic dentistry office today.