Anxiety at the dentist makes the whole visit uncomfortable, particularly for the patient and any loved ones. As dentists, it doesn’t help to see and feel our patients suffer and hate coming to us. That’s why one of our priorities here at Professional Dental in Irving is to make patients feel comfortable and at home.
We try to make the clinic’s atmosphere easy-going and try to reduce stress as much as possible. That’s not always enough though, especially when it’s time to start a procedure. Sedation dentistry exists for situations when the anxiety is overwhelming and patients have a hard time relaxing.
Sedating a patient doesn’t just come in one form or degree. For example, the vast majority of dental procedures are done while the patient is awake and conscious. On the other hand, surgeries like an appendectomy need the patient to be under general anesthesia. In dentistry, there are methods of mild, moderate, and severe anesthesia.
Mild sedation is for those who are a little uncomfortable. They get to keep their consciousness and are fully functioning, but a mild sedative is given to take away some of the anxiety. Moderate sedation is for patients who are still anxious despite receiving mild anesthesia. Under moderate anesthesia, you’ll be a little drowsy and might not remember events of the procedure later, but still fully conscious.
Severe sedation is our last resort in dentistry and here at Professional Dental. It’ll blur consciousness a little but you should still be responsive. You won’t be aware of anything happening though.
Just like there are degrees of sedation, we have different ways we can induce them. Inhalants are most commonly used to establish a mild degree of sedation. The substance you’ll be inhaling is usually nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
For moderate sedation, we might use pills either alone or in combination with an inhalant. Finally, for severe sedation, we’ll need to give the patient drugs intravenously. This isn’t just the way to establish severe sedation, but also the best method of accurately controlling how sedated a patient is.