Sedation dentistry refers to the use of medication to help relax patients during dental procedures. Sedation can take a number of different forms, and it’s useful in a variety of situations. If you’re curious about sedation, here’s an overview of the basics.
Types of Dental Sedation
Generally, dental sedation falls into one of the four following categories:
- Minimal Sedation: Typically, this involves taking an anti-anxiety medication before your dental appointment. As the work happens, you are awake and aware, but you feel very relaxed.
- Moderate Sedation: Sometimes called conscious sedation, this can also involve medicine taken just before your appointment. However, you may slur your words or experience other effects, and afterwards, you may not remember the procedure.
- Deep Sedation: With this option, you are just on the brink of unconsciousness, but you can still be awoken. Generally, the dentist or oral surgeon administers this anesthesia intravenously.
- General Anesthesia: Also called “going under”, this is when you are unconscious for the dental procedure, and you also tend to receive the anesthesia through an IV.
Dental anesthesia can be administered in a range of ways. Inhaled anesthesia or laughing gas is the most popular form of dental anesthesia. There is also local dental anesthesia which numbs the feeling of the dental work in your mouth. As indicated above, oral sedation or taking a pill is another option. Finally, there is intravenous dental anesthesia.
Who Needs Dental Anesthesia
If you have any of the following symptoms or issues, you may want to consider dental anesthesia:
- You have a low pain threshold
- You can’t sit still for long periods of time
- You have an aversion to someone working in your mouth
- You have a strong gag reflex
- You routinely skip dental work due to dental fears or anxiety
Additionally, even if you don’t suffer from any of the above issues, if you need to get a lot of work done, you may want to consider dental sedation. Even for people with a high pain threshold, extensive dental work can be uncomfortable without sedation.
Dental anxiety is a relatively common condition. In fact, between 9 and 21 percent of adults avoid the dentist due to anxiety. However, dental issues only get worse when ignored, and sedation dentistry may be able to help.
Where Can You Get Sedation Dentistry?
Some types of sedation dentistry are widely available. For instance, all dentists can administer nitrous oxide, and most dentists can prescribe oral sedation medications for adults. However, only a few dentists can prescribe oral sedation to children, and a very small number of dentists can use deep sedation or general anesthesia. In order to administer these sedation methods, the dentist must complete a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) program. Our Board Certified oral surgeons can administer safe sedation through our anesthesia machine. We even have a backup generator for the safety of all of our patients.
At Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery, our team consists of highly qualified dentists and oral surgeons who can administer the full range of sedation dentistry options. We are also the only oral surgery office in the state to be certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), which means we adhere to guidelines that give our patients a superior level of safety. To learn more, contact us directly.
Am I A Good Candidate For Dental Sedation?
Just about everyone is a good candidate for dental sedation. We offer sedation for all of our oral surgeries at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery. Whether you’re anxious about your surgery, want to make sure you don’t feel any discomfort, or have a strong gag reflex, our sedation options are right for you.
To learn more and find out if you’re a good candidate for sedation dentistry, we recommend contacting the team at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery. Together, you and your oral surgeon can discuss your candidacy for sedation, and work together to discuss the sedation method that may be right for your unique needs.
Is Dental Sedation Safe For Everyone?
Broadly speaking, dental sedation is safe for almost everyone. However, there are a few things that may rule out certain types of dental sedation, including the following:
- Certain health conditions – Some health issues can affect your candidacy for sedation. For example, if you have COPD or another serious type of respiratory disease, you may not qualify for sedation, since it may be difficult for you to breathe properly during treatment.
- Taking some medicines or supplements – There are certain medications and herbal supplements that can be unsafe when mixed with sedation. Because of this, your oral surgeon will ask for a full list of the medications and supplements you’re taking.
- Allergies to sedative medications – Allergic reactions to sedative medications are extremely rare, but can be very dangerous. If you have ever had a negative reaction to sedatives or anesthetic in the past, you may not qualify for dental sedation.
- A history of drug use – Patients with a history of recreational drug abuse may not qualify for certain types of sedation. It’s best to discuss any past drug use with your oral surgeon to ensure you qualify for treatment.
- Pregnancy – Dental sedation of any kind is not recommended for pregnant women. If you are pregnant or even if you suspect you may be pregnant, tell your oral surgeon. In most cases, they will recommend that you defer your oral surgery and dental treatment until after you have given birth.
You’re in good hands at Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery. While we’re developing your treatment plan, your dentist will discuss your medical history, health challenges, medications you’re taking, and other details. With our team on your side, you’ll know that you can be sedated safely.
How Long Does Sedation Take To Wear Off?
This depends entirely on the type of sedation. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) wears off within a few minutes after your treatment ends, and you can drive yourself home or even go back to work without any issues.
Oral conscious (pill-based) sedation and IV sedation have stronger after-effects. You will need someone responsible to drive you to and from Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery. The effects of this type of sedation will usually last up to eight hours.
General anesthesia takes the longest to wear off. You may feel the after-effects for up to 24 hours, so you should have someone with you to take care of you and monitor you for a full day after your procedure at our office.