The ADA initially coined the term conscious sedation, which is a technique used to make patients comfortable during dental procedures. Conscious sedation is perhaps the fastest growing area in anesthetics to become a viable alternative for general anesthesia.
If you are due to undergo any dental procedure and have been recommended dental sedation, you would want to know the benefits of conscious sedation and the duration in which sedation dentistry will affect you. Let us look at some of the benefits of sedation dentistry and answer the questions you have on your mind.
What Precisely Is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry aims to make you comfortable, feeling relaxed and safe during any dental procedure. After the sedatives and analgesia are administered, you become drowsy, sleepy, and pain-free. You may also experience some amnesia with little recollection of the procedure.
Sedation dentistry allows you to communicate with the dentist during the procedure because even though it relaxes you, it does not render you entirely unconscious. Your vital signs like breathing, blood pressure, and pulse are monitored throughout the procedure to ensure safety, and the anesthesiologist will remain with you all the time.
The recovery after sedation dentistry is much faster than with general anesthesia. You will not experience the same side effects as general anesthesia, where headaches, vomiting, nausea, and sore throats are frequently encountered. Approximately 99.5% of the patients surveyed confirmed they would prefer sedation dentistry over other types if they ever had to undergo any medical procedures again.
What Levels of Sedation Are Administered by Dental Professionals?
Dentists use three different levels of sedation that are also defined and recognized internationally. The three levels of sedation include:
- Anxiolysis or minimal sedation is often referred to as a mechanism to change the mood of the patient and leave him or her calm and responsive to verbal commands without being concerned about the procedure.
- Conscious or moderate sedation where the patient is more deeply sedated and may become tired or sleepy. Patients are, however, responsive to verbal commands and remain calm during the therapy.
- Deep sedation where the patients can, at times, become unconscious.
Is Dental Sedation an Option for Every Patient?
Whether or not sedation is administered to the patient will depend on the extent of the procedure and the anxiousness experienced by the patient. Many patients can become calmed by nitrous oxide or minimal sedation, which is inhaled before the process. It may be a suitable option for incredibly anxious patients who fear any dental procedures they are required to undergo.
Minimal sedation may not be required for patients undergoing teeth whitening, fluoride, and dental sealant applications. All three are entirely painless but may nevertheless be provided as a measure to relieve anxiety in the patient.
Minimal sedation is offered to patients undergoing cosmetic dental procedures, many of which only require local anesthesia. However, some patients may prefer to be sedated with a pill if they are not confident of remaining calm.
Sedation dentistry is an effective method of calming patients that have had a traumatic dental experience earlier and need relaxation and comfort. Any patient with significant or uncontrolled medical conditions like severe heart disease, obesity, and others must be assessed individually to determine their suitability for sedation dentistry. In some cases, it may be necessary to perform specific procedures in a hospital setting than in a dental clinic.
How Long Dental Sedation Takes to Wear off?
The wearing of time from sedation dentistry will depend on the drugs used, the patient’s response to the medication, and the individual’s response to them. Rapid onset and offset is a feature of the drugs used for sedation dentistry. After the sedative administration is discontinued, the recovery time in most cases is less than 30 minutes. However, patients must remain at the clinic until they recover before proceeding back home after being monitored by the anesthesiologist. Patients may continue to remain drowsy for a few hours after the procedure and receive specific instructions on how their condition should be managed after receiving dental sedation.
Most patients are advised to rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure to recover from the anesthetics administered entirely. Patients receiving local or inhaled anesthesia are unlikely to feel any side effects after the procedure. However, patients can expect not to experience any discomfort after the 24 hours when they will have recovered fully.