Is dental sedation right for me?

The biggest apprehension patients have when visiting the dentist is the fear of pain. Even simple fillings of teeth can be very painful. There are those people who even dread getting their teeth cleaned for fear of being hurt. Your Ogden Dentist like Dr. Jim Ellis, DDS may be aware of your “phobia” and suggest some medication for you to take before your visit. This is to calm you and get you more relaxed for a much more productive visit. Years ago, this may have been a powerful deterrent from visiting the dentist. With modern advancements, pain is virtually a thing of the past when getting dental work done. There are some procedures that would be almost impossible to do without at least numbing the affected area. Can anyone imagine a root canal these days without anesthesia?

Preparation before Anesthesia

The amount of anesthesia to be given depends on many factors as well. Body weight is one of them. This is of particular concern with children, who are often just a fraction of the weight of an adult. Before giving a patient any type of anesthesia, several parameters will have to be established. The dentistwill have to know the medical history of the patient. Most of this information can be found in the questionnaire every new patient completes. Particular attention is directed to the areas of allergies. Some people are very hypersensitive to some proponents of anesthesia. The overall health must be thoroughly evaluated. For instance, elderly patients with heart disease will probably have to be given a different anesthesia than a healthy twenty-year old.

Types of Anesthesia

Anesthesia comes in the form of local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is quick acting and applied with a cotton swab to numb an area of injection prior to being injected. The solution that is being injected to block the nerves in the area to be worked on is also a local anesthesia because the patient is fully conscious. It wears off within a couple of hours. General anesthesia is reserved for more difficult and invasive procedures. Your Ogden Dentist can provide you with answers to any questions in this regard. Because general anesthesia will bring a patient into a state of unconsciousness, there is always a greater risk of some unforeseen and unwanted reaction taking place. Certain patients who have problems with uncontrollable body movements may benefit from general anesthesia.

The good news is that modern dentists are able to reduce a patient’s fear, making the trip to a dentist relaxing. Sedation is one of their methods. Dentists today are equipped with ways that help you to relieve your anxieties about your trip to the dentist. By using sedation dentistry, a patient can go to the dentist, fall asleep and awake with completed dental work.

Ask Yourself This Question:

“Do I fall victim to anxiety at the very thought of going to the dentist?” If the answer is yes, you are not alone. A lot of people have an extreme fear of the dentist. At times, the fear is so powerful that the patient doesn’t go to the dentist at all, which exacerbates the problems with their teeth over time. Dentists trained to administer general anesthesia have received a minimum of two years of specialized advanced training and have been certified by their state Board of Dental Examiners. Monitoring devices, some of which evaluate breathing, blood pressure and heart rate, will be employed by the sedation dentist to help ensure the safety of the procedure.

N20-02 (Nitrous Oxide) aka “Laughing Gas”

N20-02 (Nitrous Oxide) aka Laughing GasThe most commonly employed technique used in conscious sedation dentistry is inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide and oxygen (N20-02) or “laughing gas“. It is estimated that approximately 35% of U.S. dentists use this technique to relieve pain and dental anxiety. The goal sought when laughing gas is used is to eliminate dental anxiety, making the patient more comfortable while the sedation dentist is able to more effectively complete the planned dental care procedure while the patient is sedated. Consult with your dentist to find out if this pain free procedure right for you. A small rubber inhaler will be placed over the patient’s nose and adjusted so that the patient is comfortable. At this time, the patient will be breathing 100% oxygen.

Some dentistpatients at their first laughing gas visit will feel that they are not getting enough air. The patient should tell the sedation dentist and he or she will provide them with even more oxygen to breathe. Once the patient is comfortable breathing oxygen, the sleep dentist gradually will introduce nitrous oxide. Over the next three to five minutes, the patient will be asked, “What are you feeling?” as the amount of nitrous oxide is slowly increased. The signs and symptoms that most patients experience when receiving laughing gas include an initial feeling of lightheadedness, which gradually leads to an all-over feeling of warmth.

Many persons mention:

  • a comfortable “vibrating” or “humming” sensation
  • common to feel one’s fingertips and hands become “numb”
  • that their arms and legs feel “very light”
  • other patients will say that their arms and legs feel “so heavy I can’t even move them”

These are normal effect of nitrous oxide and oxygen dentistry.

Types and Purposes

To help patients achieve calm, relaxed state prior to dental proceedings, Ogden Dentist often use sedation dentistry, which can be applied using four sedation stages. For mild anxiety, dentists will use light sedation, through nitrous oxide. This is often used for small treatments, such as fillings. This type of sedation is used for patients with a need for a lot of dental work. When completely sedated, you will fall asleep and awake a few hours later with all of the dental work completed. Through a medium sedation, dentists can still receive a response from a patient, which is defined as a semi-conscious state. The patient can still follow commands or respond, but is not completely aware of what is occurring. A deep sedation will place a patient into a state that falls between a conscious and unconscious place. Sometimes a patient will be able to respond to commands or questions, while sometimes a patient is oblivious to the procedure. In this circumstance an IV is needed. During total sedation a patient is attached to an IV, which places him into a completely unconscious state.

Speaking Session

If sedation is poorly administered it can be life threatening. Call around to different offices to discuss the sedation options, as well as inquire about the experience and training of the dentist Look for dentists around your area to discuss your sedation options with them, if you are considering sedation dentistry. The dentist is able to help you pick the level of sedation that will work for the type of treatment you need to have done, in regards to the amount of anxiety you are feeling. Make sure the dentist you choose has received proper training for administering the sedation properly, especially if you want to use IV sedation. Sedation is considered a safe method and is applied by dentists around the world, as with any medication; risks are involved. Tell your dentist if you’ve ever had a serious reaction due to medications or anesthesia. Also inform the dentist if you have any severe medical conditions. Make sure you discuss your health concerns with the dentist, if applicable. These can hinder your ability to use sedation dentistry or modify the amount used.

After Anesthesia

It is vital to have the patient rest in the recovery room long enough to be coherent before being taken home. After the Ogden Dentist has completed the procedure using general anesthesia, his job is not finished. He must still monitor his patient for any kind of spiking heart rate, or temperature. He must protect his patient against possible infection by loading him or her up with the suitable antibiotic. He will have to watch closely for any kind of reaction and take measures to treat the reaction or complication. This time is needed, again, for monitoring the patient’s progress and let the anesthesia wear off.