Sedation Dentistry – A Solution For Dental Fear
Sedation dentistry is crucial for keeping people comfortable during invasive dental procedures. However, those who have never had sedation often wonder what they can expect. Learning about sedation dentistry prepares those seeking these services.
What Happens Before Sedation Dentistry?
Before a dentist sedates a patient, they will discuss the available options. During the initial consultation, the dentist will learn the patient's health history, the medications they take, and previous sedation experiences. Once the dentist obtains this information, they will decide which sedative will benefit them most.
On the day of the appointment, avoid eating or drinking for at least six hours before the dental procedure. Dental patients who take certain medications, such as blood thinners, will be asked to stop taking these a few days before and after their operations. Medicines like blood thinners increase bleeding risks. Following the dentist's instructions will help prevent unnecessary side effects from occurring.
What Happens During Dental Sedation?
Before beginning the procedure, the dentist will administer the chosen sedative. Multiple types of sedation are available, including nitrous oxide, oral conscious medications, IV medications, and general anesthesia. After administering the sedative, the dentist will apply a local anesthetic to the gums to numb the gum tissue and teeth. The numbing action will help control discomfort for a few hours after the procedure.
During the procedure, the dentist and assistants will monitor the patient's vital signs and ensure they are not experiencing any complications. Since general anesthesia rarely becomes necessary, most people handle mild sedation well.
What Can Patients Experience After Sedation Dentistry?
Patients who receive nitrous oxide will generally function after their procedure because it does not have lasting effects. However, any other type of sedation will require the patient to have a ride home from a trusted friend or family member.
After the procedure, individuals need to go home immediately, lie down, and rest. Someone needs to stay with the patient until the sedation wears off. It will take 24 hours before the sedative wears off completely.
What Are the Advantages of Sedation Dentistry?
For most people, the benefits of sedation dentistry far outweigh any risks. Dentists often use sedation dentistry for patients who have anxieties and dental phobias. These interventions make it more comfortable for those who fear dental procedures. Often, these people have experienced frightening dental experiences in the past.
Another advantage of sedation dentistry is that it allows the dentist to work more efficiently during the dental procedure. As a result, sedation dentistry can even reduce the number of appointments patients need for dental care.
Are There Risks of Sedation Dentistry?
For most people, sedation dentistry is safe. However, as with all medications, there are some slight risks of sedation that dentistry patients need to learn. The dentist will discuss the following risks with their patients.
- Lasting drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bruising at the IV injection point
- Other unpredictable effects
It is not always possible to predict the effects a patient will experience with sedation. Rarely do people have allergic reactions to certain types of sedation medications. A person may be unaware they have an allergy until after administration. If an allergic reaction occurs, there are drugs the dentist can offer.
Can Pregnant Women Receive Sedation Dentistry?
If a woman is pregnant, she will need to discuss her sedation options with the dentist before undergoing a procedure. The reason is that some sedation medication passes through the placenta and can affect a baby's health.
Most medical professionals recommend that their pregnant patients wait until the second trimester to undergo sedation dentistry. Sedation is especially risky in the first trimester because it can cause congenital disabilities. Dentists should also never administer sedation dentistry to a woman during her pregnancy's last trimester. These drugs could lead to risks of premature labor.
What Is the Recovery Time From Sedation Dentistry?
People who only receive nitrous oxide will recover within 30 minutes. Those who choose oral conscious sedation or IV medications will need at least 24 hours to recover before they drive or operate heavy machinery. Ideally, people should not be left alone during this recovery period.
When Can Sedation Patients Return to Work?
Those who receive nitrous oxide can return to work after they leave the dentist's office. For people given oral conscious drugs or IV medications, waiting 24 hours before returning to work is wise. People must gauge their reaction to the sedative to ensure they feel well enough to return to work.
When Can People Eat After Sedation Dentistry?
Patients can eat or drink directly after their procedure. However, most people wait until the numbness wears off because it is difficult for them to chew properly. Starting with clear liquids is wise because some individuals develop nausea and vomiting after sedation.
If the clear liquids stay down, patients can eat a light meal a couple of hours later. Patients that have undergone severe dental work may be sore. A soft foods diet will help to prevent discomfort when eating.
When Can Patients Drive After Sedation Dentistry?
People can usually drive as soon as they leave the dental office after nitrous oxide. However, IV and conscious medications will require a person to wait at least 24 hours before driving.
Ask Your Dentist About Sedation Options
Sedation dentistry offers comfort and peace of mind for those anxious about dental procedures. In addition, with sedation, some dental procedures are safer. Ask your dentist about the options.