Types Of Sedation Dentistry
29 May 2017


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What Are The Different Types Of Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry consists of several techniques used to safely induce a state of relaxation in order to help control discomfort and anxiety among patients undergoing long or intricate procedures. The sedation dentistry techniques are administered for a wide range of applications, in order to help patients get the oral health care they need. It is particularly beneficial to patients who:

  • Are scheduled to undergo intricate or extensive procedures
  • Experience anxiety due to dental treatment
  • Have a fear of needles and/or the smells or noises associated with dental procedures
  • May have had previous traumatic dental procedures
  • Have TMJ problems that keep them from opening their mouth properly for extended periods
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Cannot afford the time for multiple visits

Patients with any of these problems are given the option to undergo their dental treatment under the following kinds of sedation:

  1. Conscious Sedation

    The various methods of conscious sedation allow the patient to maintain a certain level of consciousness so they can respond to verbal commands or physical stimulation during the procedure.

    The different types of conscious sedation are categorized based on either the mode of administration (oral, inhalation or intravenous) or the level of sedation provided (light, moderate or deep). These include:

    • With oral sedation, the patient usually takes a sedative pill about one hour before the procedure begins, but some are taken the night before. The patient should have someone take them to the clinic, because the effect of the medication will have kicked in. An escort is also required to assist the patient home since complete recovery from the sedation may take several hours. Although it is an effective and low cost sedation technique, it lacks flexibility as the dentist cannot accurately control the level of sedation.
    • Inhalation sedation, or nitrous oxide sedation, is the most commonly used technique in sedation dentistry because of the ability it offers to control the level of sedation throughout the procedure. In fact, the patient can drive home and resume normal activities right after the procedure. Another benefit is that the effect of the laughing gas, which is administered through a nasal mask, is instantaneous, so no waiting time is necessary.
    • IV sedation is the most powerful conscious sedation technique for patients with severe levels of anxiety and for long and invasive treatments. The sedative drugs and analgesics are administered directly into the bloodstream to produce in instant feeling of deep relaxation, partial amnesia, and pain relief. The level of sedation can be easily monitored throughout the procedure.
  2. Non-Conscious Sedation

    Non-conscious sedation is also known as General Anaesthesia, and involves the patient being in a deep state of sleep, so he/she is unresponsive to all stimuli, immobilized, and needs breathing assistance. The patient is not aware of the events taking place and, therefore, has no recollection of the procedure upon waking up. Non-conscious sedation is mostly used for lengthy and invasive dental procedures.

Which Sedation Is Right for You?

Most dentists are qualified to administer oral and inhalation sedation, which are the most commonly used sedation techniques. If a stronger sedation technique is desired, you should have a discussion with your dentist about their certification and the right sedative for your case.

Dr. William Yoo

A graduate of University of Sydney, Dr. Yoo joined the Roots on Whyte team after working on the West Coast and throughout Northern Canada. Dr. Yoo is passionate about oral care and holistic approaches to dentistry. His mission is to ensure each patient receives the best possible care during their visit at the clinic. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and exploring Edmonton’s restaurant scene together with his wife, Kelly.

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