Sedation Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?
This is the practice of using pharmacological agents to soothe and relax a patient before and during a dental procedure. The patients who are going to undergo a dental procedure might start having panic attacks or higher levels of anxiety. This is where sedation dentistry comes into the picture by alleviating their pain and fear and also provides the patients with a calming effect prior to and also during the dental procedure.

These pharmacological agents used are usually sedatives that depress the central nervous system, especially the areas that are concerned with conscious awareness.

These sedatives can exert different levels of depression of the central nervous system ranging from states of minimal, moderate and to deep sedation.

The different benefits of using Sedation Dentistry are:

  • The relaxation of the patient
  • Increased comfortability of the patient
  • Control of movement of the patient
  • Better co-operation from the patient
  • Better control of gag reflexes

Types of Dental Sedation
The different types of sedation available for dental procedures are:

  • Laughing Gas
    The laughing gas is the most common of sedation used by dental clinics. The chemical used is nitrous oxide and it is also called inhalation analgesia since helps in alleviating pain and is administered as a gas for inhalation. This gas does not put the patient to sleep. It is also effective in reducing the patient’s anxiety for the dental procedure.
  • Enteral Sedation
    This sedative is usually taken orally as a pill or a liquid. It is usually taken in combination with nitrous oxide. It allows for reduced anxiety during dental work.
  • IV Sedation
    Intravaneous or IV sedation is another method for sedation where the sedative is injected directly into a vein. This allows for better sedation even though the patient will be awake but less aware of the dental procedure that is being performed.
  • General Anaesthesia
    This is the sedation method where the patient will be asleep for the whole dental procedure. The sedative is injected directly into one of the veins and in some cases; along with this a gaseous anaesthetic is also administered.

Sedation Procedure
The procedure for sedation involves the following stages:

  • Preparation
    The dentist will first try to dry the patient’s mouth using cotton rolls. The dentist will then swab the region where the procedure is going to be done with a gel to numb the skin.
  • Injection/Inhalation
    The dentist will then either inject the sedative into the gum tissue or inhale the gas through the mouth. Most of the patients do not feel the sting of the needle but they will feel the sedative entering the tissue.
  • After Effects
    The effect of the sedative might last for a couple of hours. The patient might face difficulty in speaking and eating or drinking. Usually, the patients might bite the numb area and cause damage without feeling the pain.

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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