When it comes to dental procedures, many people feel anxious or scared. Dental phobia is a real thing, and it affects millions of people every year. If you are one of those people, then you may be wondering if sedation dentistry is safe. In this blog post, we will define sedation dentistry and talk about the different types of sedation- inhaled, oral, and IV sedation. We will also discuss how sedation affects the body and describe the different levels of sedation. Finally, we will provide an answer to the question, is sedation dentistry safe?
Types of Dental Sedation
There are three main types of dental sedation that your dentist may offer:
Inhaled Sedation (Nitrous oxide)
Inhaled sedation, also known as laughing gas, is a type of dental sedation that is inhaled through a mask that fits over the nose. Nitrous oxide gas relaxes you and eases your anxiety, while keeping you alert and responsive. The effects of inhaled sedation wear off quickly once you are no longer inhaling the gas, so you can drive yourself home after your procedure.
Oral Sedation (Pill)
Oral sedation is a type of dental sedation that is taken in pill form. It relaxes you and eases your anxiety by making you sleepy. The effects of oral sedation can last for several hours, so you will need someone to drive you home after your procedure.
IV Sedation (Intravenous)
IV sedation is a type of dental sedation that is given through an IV catheter in your arm. It relaxes you and eases your anxiety and can make you drowsy or allow you to fall into a light sleep. The effects of IV sedation can last for several hours, so you will need someone to drive you home after your procedure.
How Sedation Affects the Body
Dental sedation affects the body by relaxing you and easing your anxiety. It also slows down your heart rate, decreases your blood pressure, and makes you feel drowsy. The effects of oral and IV dental sedation can last for several hours, so you will need someone to drive you home after your procedure.
There are four levels of sedation: minimal, moderate, deep, and general anesthesia.
- Minimal sedation is when you are awake and alert, albeit relaxed. Inhaled sedation is most commonly used for minimal sedation.
- Moderate sedation is when you are drowsy but can still respond to commands. In some cases, your words may be slurred and you may or may not remember the procedure afterwards.
- Deep sedation is when you are in a light sleep and are somewhat responsive to commands. You won’t remember your procedure after being under deep sedation.
- General anesthesia is when you are not responsive to commands and are completely unconscious. Most dentists do not use general anesthesia.
Ideal Candidates for Dental Sedation
Dental sedation is ideal for people who have a fear of the dentist, a low pain threshold, or a sensitive gag reflex. It is also ideal for people who need to have multiple dental procedures done at one time or for people who need to have a potentially invasive procedure, such as the placement of dental implants.
While dental sedation is considered safe for most healthy adults and children, some people may be at an increased risk of complications. People who may be at an increased risk for dental sedation include:
- People with heart conditions
- People with lung conditions
- People with bleeding disorders
- People on certain medications
- People who are pregnant
To determine if you are a good candidate for dental sedation, your dentist will need to know about your medical history and any medications you are currently taking. They may also recommend one type of sedation over another.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Yes, sedation dentistry is safe when administered by a trained professional. It is a safe and effective way to ease your anxiety and make you feel more comfortable during your dental procedure. When it comes to sedation, there are different types and levels that your dentist may offer. It is important to discuss all of your options with your dentist before deciding which type of sedation is right for you.
In this blog, we defined sedation dentistry and talked about the different types of sedation- inhaled, oral, and IV sedation. We also discussed how sedation affects the body and described the different levels of sedation. We hope that the information in this blog post helped answer your question, is sedation dentistry safe? If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to us and we would be happy to help. Thank you for reading!
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.