Proper oral care is essential for keeping your mouth healthy. Good oral care includes brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and having your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. Routine dental care helps to prevent serious issues like cavities and gum disease. It also allows for prompt treatment of issues in their early stages to prevent more serious consequences. You may also require a dental visit between your regular visits to address specific symptoms.
If you are nervous or afraid of the dentist, however, you may find it difficult to go. As a result, issues can go untreated, resulting in more serious complications. At Harry Albers DDS, we can help to make dental visits easier with sedation dentistry.
What Exactly is Sedation Dentistry?
When you are anxious or fearful of dental care, you may avoid going. If you avoid dental care, this can result in oral health issues going untreated. Most dental issues, when untreated, only worsen over time, leading to the need for more invasive and expensive treatments later. Even if you can go to the dentist, anxiety or fear can make it difficult to sit still. If you cannot sit still, this can interfere with our ability to provide you with safe, effective care.
Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedation to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable while you receive dental care. This makes it easier for you to get the care you need when you need it, improving your oral health and your patient experience.
Levels of Sedation
Minimal sedation is the lightest form of sedation available. With minimal sedation, you are completely conscious but made to feel relaxed and comfortable. Moderate sedation is the next level. You are still conscious but will be made to feel drowsy as well as comfortable. With deep sedation, you are still conscious, but on the brink of unconsciousness. Some patients even fall asleep. Finally, there is general anesthesia. This is the strongest form of sedation. This type of sedation puts you to sleep for the duration of your treatment, so you do not have any recollection of what has happened.
Types of Sedation
There are several different types of sedation available. Nitrous oxide is a form of minimal sedation. It is the lightest, safest sedation available. You may know this sedation better as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is a gas that you inhale through a small mask worn over the nose. The gas makes you feel almost instantly relaxed, but you are still completely conscious. It also helps to raise your pain tolerance and reduce your gag reflex. Once your treatment is complete, the gas is shut off. The effects wear off almost immediately, and you are back to your normal self. Most people can even drive themselves home after their appointment.
Oral conscious sedation is a form of moderate sedation. This is a sedative that is taken orally. The medication takes about 30 minutes to begin working, but the exact time varies from patient to patient. Once it takes effect, you feel relaxed and drowsy, but you are still fully conscious. It is possible that you may experience temporary amnesia, where you are unable to recall parts, or any, of your procedure. The effects linger for several hours, so you will need someone to drive you home.
IV sedation is a type of sedation that is delivered directly into the bloodstream through a needle in your arm or the back of your hand. Because it goes directly into your bloodstream, the sedative goes to work almost immediately. This form of sedation can be used for moderate sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia. With IV sedation, the effects can also linger for several hours, so you will need to have someone who can take you home after your appointment is over.
Sedation dentistry can help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed so that you can get the dental care that you need. Call Harry Albers DDS today at (707) 806-0545 to schedule your appointment and find out if sedation is right for you.