If you have a fear of dentists or of dental treatment, sedation is an option for you. It enables dental treatment to be carried out whilst you are relaxed and makes your visit much more pleasant. It is commonly used on patients who have a fear or phobia of dental treatment. This fear can be for a number of reasons including:
- Fear of pain.
- Extremely sensitive teeth.
- History of traumatic dental experiences.
- Complex dental problems.
The underlying issue is that whatever phobia patients may have, they will often choose to neglect dental treatment because of this phobia and thus create more damage to the teeth. Sedation not only helps the patient but also greatly assists the dentists as they are able to carry out the procedure with greater cooperation from a relaxed patient.
What is dental sedation?
It is the use of sedative medications in order to make the patient more relaxed and to allow the dentist to perform the necessary dental procedures. These medications range from tranquilizers to anxiolytics and can be administered in a number of ways.
These medications do not send you to sleep, though you will feel sleepy and relaxed.
What types of sedation are available?
There are a few different types of sedation dentistry that facilitate performing dental procedures:
Oral conscious sedation – is exactly as it says, the patients are given oral sedatives which will relieve most of the stress although they will remain conscious in order to follow any instructions given by the dentist.
You will be given the medication within the surgery, one hour before the treatment commences, whilst being monitored by our staff. These sedatives will make the patient feel drowsy and have a similar effect to amnesia and you may not remember a lot about the procedure. Although oral sedatives cannot relieve pain, you will be relaxed when the dental surgeon administers the local anesthetic .
Due to the extreme drowsiness effect, patients MUST be accompanied by a responsible adult before and after the treatment and must under no circumstances, drive, operate any machinery or make any vital important legal decisions.
Intravenous sedation – this is sometimes referred to as IV sedation and is a drug administered through an injection to make people feel like they are asleep. You actually remain conscious and can follow the dentists instructions although the feeling of relaxation is so intense that you are unlikely to remember much about the procedure.
The sedation is administered into the vein and can only be performed by an experienced and trained dentist. The common anti anxiety sedatives that are used for IV sedation are Midazolam, propofol, and other medications.
Although IV sedation is very popular it is not recommended for patients with fear of needles, if you are pregnant, suffer from glaucoma, lung or kidney problems or if you are allergic to sedative drugs. Additionally, older patients are not recommended for IV sedation.
Local anaesthetic – this works by blocking nerve impulses to the site where the dental procedure is being performed. An anaesthetic gel or spray which has a numbing effect may be applied before the local anesthetic injection is administered. Under local anesthesia you are fully conscious although you do not feel any of the effects of the treatment.
General anaesthetic – general anesthesia is used to facilitate oral surgery and can be used for people who are not eligible for sedation dentistry. General anesthesia leads to a state of unconsciousness and the side effect may last for several hours after the procedure is done. This facility is not available to us in Masterton and would require referral to a hospital department in Wellington or Palmerston North.