Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It's sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry," although that's not entirely accurate. Patients are usually awake with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia.
The following types of sedation are used in dentistry:
1. Inhaled minimal sedation: You breathe nitrous oxide -- otherwise known as "laughing gas" combined with oxygen through a mask that's placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. Your dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.
2. Oral sedation: Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry.
3. IV moderate sedation: You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
4. Deep sedation and general anesthesia: You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious -- deeply asleep -- during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.
1. One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it might have taken hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments.
2. If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of.
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