Can a patient really relax during sedation dentistry?

If you would rather suffer the pain of a tooth ache rather than set one foot in a dentist’s office you are certainly not alone. There are no statistics but it is fair to say that a great number of people feel this way. For these people there is hope; sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry can help a patient deal with anything from simple teeth cleaning to a root canal, what is used and how it is used depends on how fearful of any dental procedure the patient is.

Yes! A patient can really relax during sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is often called “sleep dentistry” although this term is actually misleading. Other than those that are under general anaesthesia, and these are few and far between, patients are awake and they can interact with the dentist and follow instructions.

There are various levels of sedation:

Depending on the treatment, the anticipated time to complete the procedure and the level of discomfort shown by the patient, the dentist at Hills Dental Care has different sedation methods at his or her disposal.

  • Minimal: The patient is awake but in a fully relaxed state
  • Moderate: Still awake but not fully aware of what is going on around you
  • Deep: On the edge of consciousness but can be awakened
  • General aesthesia: The patient is rendered completely unconscious

The most common sedatives used:
Depending on the level of sedation that you and the dentist feel is best, different sedatives are employed:

  • Nitrous oxide: “Laughing gas” in combination with pure oxygen helps the patient relax. The amount of gas can be adjusted during the procedure to ensure that the patient remains in a relaxed state. Nitrous oxide is ideal as it wears off quickly and there is no need to be accompanied by anyone to help you get home afterwards.
  • Oral sedation: can be given in different dosages. The minimum oral sedation means taking a pill such as Halcion. The pill will make the patient drowsy but remain awake. A heavier dose can be given but regardless of dosage the patient can be roused quickly with nothing more than tap on the shoulder.

Although you will be relaxed during sedation the dentist will still numb the site where the procedure will take place.

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