Sedation for Dental Procedures
It is common for many patients to feel nervous or anxious about their dental procedures. Your dentist has ways to help with your anxiety which may include other medications to make you feel more comfortable. By having a more relaxed patient your dentist may be able to complete more of your dentistry in one appointment. In other cases, a more relaxed patient may be safer for them as well as being more relaxed. The decisions of which type of sedation will be determined by you in consultation with your doctor.
What is Sedation?
During Dental and related surgical procedures local anesthesia (lidocaine or similar) is administered to block sensations. However, the anxiety that some people have can be controlled by administering sedative drugs (Valium or similar). A sedated patient may have little to no recollection of the procedure, and will certainly be more relaxed.
How is the Medication Administered?
The sedative medications are typically given orally or intravenously (IV). Oral sedation is administered as a single dose approximately 40 minutes prior to the procedure while sitting in the lounge area. IV administration is more rapid and usually reserved for surgical procedures. Also with IV administration your doctor can precisely give the correct amounts of the medications to make you relaxed and comfortable during the entire length of the procedure.
How am I Monitored During the Procedure?
During the entire procedure you will be monitored by your doctor and his trained assistant. They will also be employing an automatic blood pressure cuff, and a pulse oximeter which, through a light sensor, measures the oxygen concentration in your blood.
Is Anesthesia Safe?
The use of sedation in dentistry has a commendable record of safety. This is due to the advanced training your doctor has and his commitment to your overall health. It is important to advise your doctor of all medications that you take as well as any changes in your health since your last visit.
In most states a special permit is required to administer intravenous medications. In order to qualify your doctor had to provide evidence of advanced training in anesthesia and often a site visit is required. The ability to handle emergency situations as well as having specific emergency medications and equipment is also mandatory.