Some people get very tense just thinking about going to the dentist. For many, it brings on very real feelings of fear. Individuals often suffer from a painful toothache rather than visit a dentist’s office. For those who avoid going to their San Pablo dentist at all costs, sedation dentistry may offer some relief. There are various levels of sedation to help with everything from simple tooth cleaning to invasive procedures. But what’s it really like to experience sedation dentistry?
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is often called “sleep dentistry.” This term is not entirely accurate since patients do not often go to sleep while under sedation. There are different levels of sedation, including:
- Minimal sedation where you are awake but very relaxed.
- Moderate sedation where you are awake, but you are not going to remember much, if any, of the procedure.
- Deep sedation where you are just on the edge of consciousness but still easily awakened.
- General anesthesia where you are completely unconscious and unaware.
Sedation dentistry is administered in different ways. These are the types of sedation used in dentist’s offices.
- Inhaled Sedation. During this form of sedation, you will breathe in nitrous oxide. This is often called laughing gas. A mask will be placed over your nose as you breathe it in. It will help you relax, and the dentist controls the amount you receive.
- Oral Sedation. Dosage of oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. If you receive minimal sedation, you will be given a pill about an hour before the procedure. Most dentists use Halcion, which is similar to valium. It will make you drowsy, but you will still be awake. If you need more sedation, larger doses may be given. If you take a moderate dose, you may fall asleep during the procedure. However, usually, it only takes a gentle shake to wake you.
- IV Moderate Sedation. This sedative drug is administered through the vein. This allows it to work more quickly. Dr. Edwin Kim can make continual adjustments as needed.
- Deep Sedation/General Anesthesia. This type of sedation will make you unconscious or deeply asleep throughout the procedure. You will not be awakened easily until the anesthesia wears off.
What to Expect During Sedation Dentistry
Dr. Edwin Kim will place a mask on for you to breathe in the nitrous oxide. He will control the amount of gas administered, but if you don’t like how it makes you feel, you can remove the mask. You will stay awake and remain responsive. However, you will feel very relaxed and not fearful. Once the mask is removed, it will wear off quickly. You’ll be able to drive yourself home.
Oral sedation doesn’t “knock you out.” But you may be moderately sedated. You will be aware of what is happening. You’ll also be able to communicate with Dr. Kim during the procedure, although you may not remember much of it later. You may doze off while you are in the chair. Oral sedation may leave you feeling groggy for hours. You will need someone to drive you to the appointment and back home. However, you will be able to take care of yourself the rest of the day.
IV sedation will cause you to sleep through the procedure. Your vitals will be monitored carefully during the procedure. If you do fall asleep, you will be easily awakened. Afterward, you may feel a little out of it or loopy. Following IV sedation, you may have some lingering effects. They can last the rest of the day. Someone will need to drive you home and stay with you for a while. You may need someone to help you with basic care for a few hours. By the next morning, you should feel more like yourself.
You will be completely out during the procedure after Dr. Edwin Kim administers general anesthesia. Anesthesia can affect people differently. You may feel groggy. Some people get a bit nauseous following this type of sedation. You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for a few hours to make sure you recover well.
Contact San Pablo Dental
Contact us at San Pablo Dental to discuss what type of sedation dentistry is right for you. Dr. Edwin Kim will want to discuss your personal health history and current medications to help you make the right choice about the level of sedation you desire. You may choose different sedation levels based on the type of procedure and your level of anxiety. Call us today to schedule your exam to discuss sedation dentistry.