Going to the dentist isn’t anyone’s favorite activity, even though proper dental care is essential for good general health. However, we all know someone–or we are someone–who is terrified of the dentist. Just the thought of having a cleaning is enough to cause panic, let alone anything like getting a filling or a root canal. Such people will avoid dentists for years because of their fears, which only makes matters worse. If this describes you or someone close to you, there’s a solution–sedation dentistry.
Keep in mind that sedation dentistry isn’t just for fearful patients. If you need to get a lot of dental work completed, have trouble keeping still or a strong gag reflex, or have a low threshold for pain, sedation dentistry is an available option for you as well. Your dentist can advise you if this is something the practice offers and what type of sedation will meet your needs. Sedation dentistry is also known as sleep dentistry, but unless you are under very heavy sedation, you’ll be awake, although you may not remember the experience.
Types of Sedation Dentistry in Tulsa
Sedation dentistry is not an all or nothing proposition. Several degrees of sedation are available so you and your dentist can determine which level would be best for you.
- Minimal sedation: This usually comes in an inhalant form such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas). It’s designed to relax you without putting you to sleep and is most beneficial during minor procedures.
- Oral sedation: This comes in pill form, most often Halcion or Valium, and can range from mild to moderate effect depending on the dose given. Oral sedation is the most commonly offered type of sedation dentistry.
- IV sedation: This leans more towards moderate sedation in low doses. It works quickly, and your dentist is better able to monitor sedation levels and adjust as necessary.
- Deep sedation/general anesthesia: When given via IV or injection, you will be wholly unconscious or very close to it. Unlike the other types of sedation dentistry, this doesn’t wear off quickly. Often your dentist will need to use other medications to bring you back to consciousness.
In all sedation dentistry, you’ll be given local anesthetics to relieve pain during the procedure.
What to Expect from Sedation Dentistry in Tulsa
When you set an appointment, you may be instructed to have someone drive you to and from the office, even if you’re only getting minimal sedation. In cases of deep sedation, your driver might be asked to stay at the office for the duration of your procedure. If you’ll be under IV or deep sedation, wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave off your watch and bracelets, as you will be hooked up to blood pressure and heart monitors. With nitrous oxide and oral sedation, you’ll feel relaxed, sometimes enough to fall asleep, although you’ll be able to be awakened easily, and the sedation should wear off quickly.
With deep sedation, you may only experience momentary drowsiness or none at all; patients are often surprised that the procedure has been completed because they have no memory of falling asleep. If you’ve been heavily sedated, it may take a day or so to feel back to normal. As with any medical procedure, call your dentist if you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms such as bleeding or headaches regardless of the level of sedation used.
With sedation dentistry, even the most fearful people can receive the best dental care possible. While costs may not always be covered by insurance, deep sedation or general anesthesia often is included because it’s considered to be a medical necessity.
Do you feel that dental sedation is right for you? Contact South Tulsa Dental Sedation Dentistry today to explore your options.
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