You’re Feeling Very Sleeeeeeeeeepy — Sedation Dentistry

Despite living in the Pacific Northwest where we are all supposedly laid back, some people have serious anxiety attacks when it comes to visiting the dentist. And this doesn’t only apply to hour-long procedures, but to anything as simple as a routine cleaning.

Maybe they watched Marathon Man one too many times in their youth (“Is it safe?!”), but whatever the cause dental anxiety/fear can cause a person to skip or not even schedule appointments they need to maintain good oral health. Because of that, Dr. Miller offers sedation dentistry for his customers.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation DentistrySedation dentistry involves the use of medications to keep patients relaxed during dental procedures. This is different than full general anesthesia because in sedation dentistry the patient is usually awake and is able to respond to requests from the dentist. The sedation simply allows the patient to relax and overcome his or her anxiety.

What are the levels of sedation?

There are four levels of sedation:

• Minimal sedation — Under minimal sedation, you are awake but relaxed.
• Moderate sedation — This used to be called “conscious sedation.” You may slur your words when talking and not remember most of what occurred during the procedure.
• Deep sedation — In deep sedation, you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
• General anesthesia — You’re completely unconscious.

What types of sedation are used?

• Oral sedation can be minimal to moderate. The patient takes a pill (usually Halcion, in the same drug family as Valium) usually about 30 minutes before the procedure. The pill makes the patient drowsy. Oral sedation is the most common form of sedation used in dentistry.

• Everyone knows about laughing gas, formally known as nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is combined with oxygen and the patient breathes it through a mask placed over the nose. The gas wears off quickly and the patient usually can drive home following the procedure.

• Intravenous sedation works more quickly as the sedative drug is delivered into the bloodstream. The method allows the dentist to adjust sedation levels continually.

• Deep sedation and general anesthesia are delivered intravenously, as well. A patient under general anesthesia cannot be awakened easily until the anesthesia wears off or is reversed using a different medication.

Your comfort is our priority with Dr. Miller and our entire staff. So, if visiting our offices makes you very anxious, talk to us about sedation dentistry.

Posted in: Sedation Dentistry

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