Dental sedation is used to calm a patient’s anxiety about the procedure or help with pain control. There are many forms of dental sedation in the industry. They range from numbing the pain to completely sleeping. All forms of sedation are meant for short term use.
This type of sedation is a conscious sedation. This is where the patient is still conscious but less aware of what is going on around them. When this method is used the patient’s coordination might be affected but ventilatory and cardiovascular functions will be unaffected. One of the most used techniques for this type of sedation is what is known as commonly known as laughing gas. The medical name for laughing gas is nitrous oxide and is used to relax patients which may help them receive pain management such as needles in the gums. The effects of laughing gas come quickly and wear off quickly once they stop breathing it in from the nose apparatus you will use to administrate it. Patients who use only this sedation method can often drive right after the procedure.
This type of sedation is also a conscious sedation. This is a prescribed medication that is taken orally. There are a number of different types of medication that can be prescribed. Depending on the circumstances, your patients heart rate and blood pressure may need to be monitored during the procedure. If the patient has extremely high anxiety this is a good option. Typically, this type of sedation will leave them sleepy and unable to drive home.
There is something called ‘Twilight’ sedation. For this, the patient is conscious but not very aware of their surroundings. This can still be done at your dental clinic with the right education and equipment. Under some circumstances but not very often, a patient will need general anesthesia which cannot be done at the dental clinic but would need to be done at a hospital or specialized clinic where a specialist would administrate the sedative and monitor the patient throughout the procedure.
As a dentist, you should always check with the dental association guidelines or requirements to administer sedation. Another option that is becoming common in the dental industry is clinics employing a dental anesthesiologist so they can perform the more complicated procedures.
Having sedation alternatives can benefit certain patients, as well as your whole team by saving time, anxiety and delivering a more positive patient experience.