According to an estimate, about one in three individuals in the United States have untreated tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, dental phobia is one of the primary reasons that keep people from seeking basic dental care. People may be fearful of receiving dental treatment for many reasons. For some, it may be the sound of dental drill that causes the anxiety, while for others the thought of sitting in a dentist’s chair itself may cause stress. We offer different options to help those with anxiety. Speak to our staff about your child’s anxiety and we can work towards making him or her feel comfortable during basic or even complex dental treatment appointments.
Sedation is a process of using sedatives to keep a person relaxed. Sedatives do not reduce the pain during dental treatment but they help patients feel comfortable. The choice of a particular sedative depends on the level of anxiety exhibited by the person. Few patients may not need sedation at all or may require only a little help to reduce anxiety for basic dental procedures, while others may require a moderate level of sedation for the same procedures. It varies from person to person. The following are the different levels of sedation in dentistry.
Based on the level of anxiety or discomfort in the patient, we can offer different modalities of sedation options.
Nitrous oxide is commonly called laughing gas. It is not a sedative but an agent to reduce anxiety. The gas, when inhaled, produces euphoric effects. This is used commonly in pediatric dentistry for patients who are mildly nervous of dental treatment and require a little assistance to keep them relaxed and comfortable. The patient is fully awake during the procedure and the recovery time is minimal. The patient will leave the office fully recovered after all the effects of the nitrous oxide is eliminated from his or her system.
Intravenous sedation is administered directly into the blood stream. The patient will not be fully conscious but can engage his or her own protective reflexes such as coughing. He/she is continuously monitored during the process by an experienced dental anesthesiologist. This type of sedation is advantageous since the anesthesiologist can control the level of sedation by controlling the amount of sedative that goes into the blood stream. The effect is quickly reversible but the patient has to be observed by a caretaker for few hours after the process is complete. This method of sedation is highly effective on patients who can not cooperate during dental procedures while awake.
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