Sedation dentistry refers to the use of pharmacological agents to calm and relax a patient prior to a dental procedure. It can vary from drugs such as tranquillizers, depressants, and anti- anxiety medications to nitrous oxide. Sedation dentistry is a way of keeping the patient calm and relaxed through the use of sedatives. In the past, it was common to administer sedatives through the intravenous method, which is injecting it to the blood vessels of either the arm or hand.
Medical advancements in dental technology helped create alternatives for taking in sedatives without using injections which may cause anxiety to the patient. Nowadays, patients can choose oral administration or taking in anti- anxiety medication through the mouth.
The decision to use sedation is best arrived at through a conversation between the dentist and the patient. Depending on the procedure, the patient’s anxiety levels and other health factors (including age and pre- existing conditions), the dentist will decide the kind of sedation to be used and how much of it. During sedation dentistry, a patient can go through a dental procedure without being fully aware of what is happening. Through pre-treatment consultation, the dentist checks the dental history, the anxiety levels and other health factors of the patient. Taking sedatives may pose risks, thus it is very important for the dentist to know about medical conditions if there are any to take note of. Since some sedatives may react a certain way to vitamins, food supplements, smoking or taking alcohol.
Sometimes during the treatment, the patient might require assistance of a close friend or relative to stay with them for a few hours. The effect of sedation dentistry may vary from patient to patient. Some may feel sedated an hour or two after the procedure, requiring assistance at home until the effects wear off.
Sedation dentistry has become very popular because it offers several benefits for both the patient and the dentist. Lengthy procedures such as cosmetic dentistry or dental surgeries that can take more than an hour to perform may seem to last only a few minutes for the patient under sedation. It can also cut down the number of appointments in which these complex procedures can be performed.
It also allows the patient to regain confidence because anxieties are kept at bay through the painless treatment. This would encourage further visits to the dentist and eventually, promote a routine of proper oral health practices for the patient.