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How Safe is Sedation Dentistry?

For many, the thought of someone doing work inside their mouth is enough to make them grit their teeth. Thankfully, sedation dentistry is a safe option for many patients who might otherwise be unable to receive dental care.

Find out how safe sedation dentistry is, along with the different levels and types available, from your family McAllen dentists at WhiteWing Dental.

The Levels of Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry, uses medication to allow patients to relax while in the dentist’s chair. Different levels of sedation are used depending on the situation and the patient. These levels are:

  • Minimal sedation: During sedation, you are wide awake but relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation: In the past, this has been referred to as conscious sedation. With this sedation, you may slur your words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.
  • Deep sedation: This sedation puts you on the edge of consciousness, but still allows you to be awakened.
  • General anesthesia: You are completely unconscious with this level of sedation.

Types of Sedation

Just like the levels of sedation, there are four main types of sedation that are used depending on the procedure you are having done, and what your dentist believes will work best for you. 

The types of sedation include:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation: A mask will be placed over your nose with a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas). This will allow you to relax, as well as let the dentist control how much sedation you receive. This wears off quickly and is the only type of sedation that will allow you to drive yourself home afterward.
  • Oral sedation: This type of sedation can range from minimal to moderate depending on the dose you are given. Normally, you will be given a pill to take an hour before the procedure, which will make you drowsy. If given a moderate dose, you may actually fall asleep during the procedure but can easily be awakened.
  • IV moderate sedation: With IV moderate sedation, you will receive the sedation through a vein that will allow it to kick in quickly. This form of sedation allows your dentist to control the dosage you are getting throughout the procedure.
  • Deep sedation and general anesthesia: This form of sedation will make you almost or completely unconscious during the procedure. While under general anesthesia, you are unable to be awakened until the dosage wears off or is reversed with other medication.

Safety of Sedation Dentistry

When given by an experienced doctor, anesthesia is usually safe. However, there are still risks associated with sedation and should be discussed with your dentist before moving forward:

  • Go over your medical history with your dentist.
  • Make sure the dosage you are getting is in line with your age, health, and FDA regulations.
  • Find out how many procedures your dentist has done using sedation and what training they have acquired.
  • Make sure that your dentist has oxygen, artificial ventilation, and medication that can reverse the effects of sedation if needed.

Having these conversations with your dentist beforehand ensures you have the proper information you need and allows you to discuss any concerns or fears you may have going into the procedure.

Who Benefits From Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is used mainly for those with real fears and anxieties that prevent them from going to the dentist or for patients with special needs who require sedation dentistry to undergo a procedure.  

Your dentist will always assess your case before considering sedation, but other factors for receiving sedation include those who:

  • Have a low tolerance for pain.
  • Cannot sit still in a dentist chair for long amounts of time.
  • Have very sensitive teeth.
  • Have a bad gag reflex.
  • Need a large amount of dental work done.

If you would like sedation used for a dental procedure, have a discussion with your dentist to find out if you are a good candidate for it. Not everyone will be right for sedation, and your dentist will be able to offer other options if that is the case.

Find Out if Sedation Dentistry Is Right for You With Whitewing Dental!

Call or visit your dentists in McAllen at WhiteWing Dental today to discuss sedation dentistry for you.

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