Keeping You Comfortable In The Dentist's Chair

Many people think the sound of a dentist's drill is straight out of a horror film, which can make going to the dentist a traumatic experience. Luckily, there are ways to help combat this fear through sedation. Sedation can be used during any procedure from getting a cavity filled to getting fitted for dentures.

Sedation dentistry uses medication to keep patients calm during dental procedures, it is also sometimes referred to as "sleep dentistry".

There are four levels of sedation that are used during dental procedures. These levels are: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia. You should discuss the best level of sedation for your procedure and the level you are comfortable with, with your dentist before your procedure.

There are several types of dental sedation, each with their own benefits and side effects.

  • The first type is Inhaled Minimal Sedation. For this type of sedation, the patient  breathes in nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, combined with oxygen through a mask placed over the nose. This helps the patient relax. The dentist can control the amount of nitrous oxide the patient receives and the affects of the gas usually wear off quickly, making it the only form of dental sedation that allows patients to drive themselves home after their procedure.
  • The second type is Oral Sedation. When oral sedation is used, the patient takes a pill, usually about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make the patient drowsy, but they're still awake. With this type of sedation, some patients are so relaxed during the procedure that they fall asleep, but can usually be woken up with a gentle shake.
  • The third type is Intravenous Sedation (also known as IV Sedation). This type of sedation is given directly into the patient's vein, which makes the sedation process much quicker. The dentist can control the amount of sedation medication given to a patient with this method, like inhaled minimal sedation.
  • The fourth type is General Anesthesia. When general anesthesia is used the patient is rendered unconscious for the procedure. The affects of this type of sedation wear off slowly and are sometimes reversed using other medication. 

Local anesthetic is usually used in addition to these dental sedation methods, by numbing the direct area of the mouth the dentist is working in. 

The cost of sedation dentistry varies anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the type of sedation. Here is a general breakdown of how much each type of sedation could cost. Most sedation dentistry is not covered by insurance, but many dentists give patients financing options to help them pay for the procedure.

For more information, contact a local dental clinic, like Mill Creek Family Dental