Many people feel anxious about visiting the dentist, and there is nothing wrong with that. All it really means is that some extra steps must be taken in order to help you cope with anxiety during your treatment. Fortunately, at American Dental Excellence, we offer sedation dentistry for patients who suffer from fear of the dentist.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is an FDA-approved method of helping anxious patients relax during dental procedures with the use of medicine. Whether for a general check up or a teeth-whitening session, sedation dentistry is an effective strategy for calming patients during stressful dental procedures. While the patient is usually awake during the procedure, medication helps them to enter a calm state. However, there are different levels of sedation that are chosen based on the patient’s amount of anxiety.

Levels of Sedation

  • Minimal sedation: the patient is relaxed but fully awake.
  • Moderate sedation: the patient is conscious but may have difficulty remembering the procedure and may feel “loopy.”
  • Deep sedation: the patient is almost unconscious, but can still be roused.
  • General anesthesia: the patient is fully unconscious.

Types of Sedation

There are several different methods of sedation for dental procedures.

  • Inhaled sedation: the patient wears a mask that goes over the nose and breathes in nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas.” This helps the patient to relax. Laughing gas tends to wear off more quickly, so you may even be able to drive after the procedure.
  • Oral sedation: Oral sedation is an option for both minimal and moderate sedation, depending on the specific dose, and is the most popular method of sedation for dentistry. The patient takes the medication of choice roughly an hour before the procedure. Halcion is the most popular medication used for oral sedation. While the patient will still be awake during the procedure, they will be very drowsy, and for higher doses, it is common for patients to fall into a light sleep.
  • IV sedation: During IV sedation, the patient is given a sedative intravenously. This ensures that the medication kicks in more quickly, and the dentist can adjust the sedation level throughout the procedure.
  • General anesthesia: For patients who have a severe phobia of the dentist, general anesthesia is best. The patient receives medication that puts them in a deep sleep during the procedure. It is not easy to wait up the patient under general anesthesia until it wears off or a reversal medication is taken.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right For Me?

Even if you are very fearful of the dentist, it is essential for your health to go to routine dental checkups. If you suffer from this level of anxiety, you don’t need to put your health at risk by skipping your dental visit. Sedation dentistry allows you to get through any procedure, whether you need significant dental work or just a regular cleaning, giving you a sense of calm despite your anxieties. If you are interested in sedation dentistry, we can help you at American Dental Excellence. Contact us today to schedule an appointment where we can discuss your needs and determine which level of sedation is right for you.