Sedation dentistry simply works for people looking to have a more pleasant, pain-free dental visit as well as those with dental phobias.
In other words, whether you simply want to have a quicker, more efficient dental experience or you need additional anxiety management to make it through, a sedation dental center can lend a helping hand.
Using a range of tools, the tenets of sedation dentistry can be applied to routine checkups and cleanings to more extensive dental procedures like applying bridges and permanent dentures.
Although sedation dentists, by definition, provide minimal and moderate sedation along with deeper forms of sedation, the type and extent of sedation varies based on each patient and his or her anxiety and pain management needs.
Seven Myths About Sedation Dentistry
Now that we've talked a little bit about what sedation dentistry is and how it helps patients, it's time to dispel a few myths about sedation dentistry.
- Myth #1: Sedation is one-size-fits-all
Nothing could be further from the truth. The dental professionals working in a sedation dental center consult with patients to find the type and extent of topical anesthetic and general sedation that's appropriate for their needs. The health of the patent is also taken into account to ensure that the dental experience goes absolutely according to plan.
Sedation can, moreover, be broken down into three categories - minimal, moderate and deep. There is a fourth kind of sedation, known as general anesthesia, in which the patient is completely unconscious, yet this kind of sedation is only resorted to in cases of major surgery.
- Myth #2: Sedation knocks you out completely
Most patients opt for minimal sedation - which puts the patient in a very relaxed yet conscious state - or moderate (a.k.a., conscious) sedation.
The patient and sedation dentist might also collaborate and decide on deep sedation. This kind of sedation would typically be used in more involved surgeries or in more extreme cases of dental phobia or psychomotor tics.
- Myth #3: Only intravenous sedation is effective
This is also a myth because sedation dentists use measured doses of nitrous oxide and oral sedation to ease the patient into a pleasant dental experience. Oral sedation is, in fact, the most popular kind of dental sedation since the dose can be closely supervised and controlled.
Normally the oral sedative is a safe benzodiazepine known as Halcion (a.k.a., Triazolam) and the dose is carefully meted out to provide anxiety relief without making patients mentally foggy. Oral sedatives are usually taken an hour prior to your visit.
- Myth #4: Nitrous Oxide's Effects Linger
For patients with only mild anxiety, sedation dentists might opt for minimal sedation in the form of nitrous oxide. This kind of sedation is often the preferred on-site method of sedation since it allows professionals at a sedation dental center to carefully control the dosage in real time.
Another benefit is that minimal, nitrous oxide sedation wears off quickly without any lingering effects - making it ideal for use in sedation dentistry where the goal is providing painless cleanings, bridgework and beautifying cosmetic dental procedures.
- Myth #5: Sedation dentistry is unaffordable
This is a myth for two reasons - sedation is normally affordably in itself but it's also covered under many insurance policies. In other words, your out-of-pocket expense is very manageable and your insurance co-pay easily covers the rest.
Speaking to the affordability of sedation dentistry, the minimal sedation that we just talked about involving nitrous oxide usually costs $100 (or less) at a sedation dentist center.
Patients with a more intense fear of the dentist, lower pain threshold or sensitive teeth might want oral sedation or intravenous sedation.
- Myth #6: Sedation dentists are unqualified and unlicensed
Both of these beliefs are false. The vast majority of sedation dentists have gone through an American Dental Association-approved program and many of whom have gone through a Commission on Dental Accreditation program.
The former - an ADA-approved program - typically teaches dentists best practice for administering minimal sedation while the latter - Commission on Dental Accreditation programs - license sedation dentists to provide deeper forms of sedation and even general anesthesia.
State dental boards usually have their own sedation licensing procedures as well. This network of safeguards means that you're in qualified hands when you walk into a sedation dental center.
- Myth #7: Doses are random…and unsafe
The dosage of oral sedation that you receive from a sedation dentist should be in harmony with your health, the FDA's recommendation, your medical history and your requested pain and anxiety management.
Sedation dentists have licensing and years of safe experience with minimal, moderate and deep sedation.
That said, what are some of the myths that you've heard about sedation dentistry lately?