Sedation Dentistry: The Answer for Relaxed Dental Appointments

Sedation Dentistry in St. Paul

It is often due to the fear of pain that one chooses to endure the anguish of toothache over visiting a dentist’s office. Sedation Dentistry in St. Paul has come to the rescue of those who dread undergoing dental treatments. Sedation alleviates anxiety and can be used for the most invasive procedure to even a basic teeth cleaning. The level of sedation used depends on the severity of fear.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Inaccurately referred to as “sleep dentistry” sometimes, sedation dentistry involves the use of medication to help relax the patient during dental treatments. Except for general anesthesia, the patient is awake during all other levels of sedation. These levels are as follows:

(i) minimal sedation: the patient is awake but relaxed. Involves the inhalation of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a mask.

(ii) moderate sedation: also known as conscious sedation. The patient may not remember the procedure and may have slurred speech. This can be achieved through oral pills or i.v. injection. This type of sedation is most relevant in dentistry. Usually, levels that are achieved make the patient groggy and may even make them fall asleep. However, usually a gentle nudge suffices to wake them up.

(iii) deep sedation: although the patient can be awakened, he/she is on the edge of consciousness.

(iv) general anesthesia: the patient is unconscious.

Deep sedation and general anesthesia are achieved by medications that are administered intravenously. It results in a complete or almost unconscious state which cannot be reversed till the effect of anesthesia wears off or is reversed by medication. Procedures under general anesthesia are not carried out on the dental chair. All these methods of sedation may still require the use of local anesthetic as well.

Although it is costlier than routine dental procedures carried out under local anesthesia,sedation dentistry is gradually gaining popularity, especially in treating children, apprehensive individuals, and people with low pain threshold. It is advised that the patient is accompanied by an attendant, especially child patients. One should also avoid driving or operating machinery on the day of the procedure.