Most people surprisingly still have the fear of dental visits and procedures. Children are not the only ones who fear going to the dentists for a checkup or to get any treatment done. A lot of adults have a similar feeling of anxiety, and others even have a phobia of going to the dentist, thus delaying the appointment and the overall treatment which in the end results to poor oral health and greater dental problems and complications. It is normal for individuals to have this fear as most people have had the impression that most dental procedures are coupled with pain and feeling of discomfort.
Fortunately, sedation dentistry is becoming more and more popular as a solution to the end the feeling of anxiety whenever you have a scheduled visit to the dentist.
Sedation dentistry refers to the use of drugs called Sedatives to calm a patient or put him or her to a relaxed state prior and during a dental appointment. What these sedatives do is to exert effort to depress the central nervous system to reduce the patient’s anxiety and make him/her feel comfortable during the dental procedure. Various oral sedatives and anxiolytic medications have been developed especially for these purposes.
The varying degrees of central nervous system depression range from minimal, moderate to deep sedation depending on what dental procedure is taking place. Sedation dentistry is becoming more popular because it benefits both the patient and the dentist and to some, this is the only solution they can take in order to get the dental care they need without any anxiety and uneasiness. Sedation dentistry makes the patient relaxed and increases their comfort and dentists can also easily get the patient’s cooperation to get the treatment done thus it helps to save time.
What happens before sedation?
Sedating a patient is usually a very safe procedure and is only recommended for long, complex procedures especially for the young ones and nervous. But the patient’s safety is still a dentist’s priority so what he does before sedation is to closely monitor the patient’s blood oxygen level, blood pressure, blood temperature and heart rate.
It is also important for the patient to inform the dentist of all of the medical conditions for which he/she is being treated, and if there are any medications prescribed by the doctor. The patient should also be aware of certain foods that are not allowed for consumption before the sedation like grapefruit juice as its enzymes can interfere with the systems that breakdown oral sedation medications in the body. The patient should also make his/her dentist aware of any alcohol consumption or factors like smoking as they can affect the effectivity of sedatives or sedation medications.
Sedation Dentistry vs Sleep Dentistry
Sedation dentistry has occasionally been termed as sleep dentistry but this is a misleading term. In reality, the patient does not sleep during the procedure while sedated. It is only because of the effects of the sedatives that the patient has the tendency to feel sleepy.
Sedation dentistry does not make the patient sleep but rather enables him to be awake throughout the duration of the procedure. It will only make the patient feel relaxed and may make him forget the details of the entire treatment.
Which type of medication is right for you?
Being knowledgeable about oral sedation can be empowering as it is helpful to be familiar with the different types of drugs that are appropriate for your use. There are several commonly prescribed medications including Valium, Halcion, Sonata, Ativan, etc. These medicines all belong to a class called benzodiazepines which are known to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures and muscle spasms. These are proven and highly effective in treating the mentioned conditions in small doses.
If you are reluctant or hesitant to smile and flaunt your pearly whites because you are anxious about going to the dentist for a long or complicated procedure, sedation dentistry is a solution for you as you can be comfortable during the treatment process and will enable you to achieve that smile you can be proud of. You can avoid drastic dental care and treatment in the long run if you are able to finally let go of that fear that keeps you from going to the dentist. You will no longer neglect your oral health and will finally be able to receive the recommended dental care you deserve.
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