Sedation dentistry is simply the use of medication during oral surgery or other dental procedure to help a patient feel as comfortable as possible. It has sometimes been referred to as “sleep dentistry”, but that is not really true as patients are usually awake during the procedures except for those under general anesthesia. The sedation is most suitable for individuals with real fear or anxiety of visiting a dentist or sitting on a dental surgery chair, particularly children.
How is Sedation Dentistry done?
There are various ways in which sedation dentistry is administered including:
Inhaled minimal sedation- Here the dentist administers to you nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a gas mask that is placed over your nose.
Oral sedation- This can be used for minimal to moderate sedation. For minimal sedation, a pill (typically Halcion), is administered about half an hour before the procedure.
IV sedation- Here the sedative drug is given through a vein, enabling it to work more quickly and for the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe For kids?
Sedation for dental procedures on kids is safe if done right. Nitrous oxide, which is administered through inhalation, tends to be the safest for kids and almost all dentists can administer it. It helps the kid remain calm throughout the procedure. Oral sedation also works for children, but there is only a small percentage of pediatric dentists who are trained on how to administer it. A pediatric dentist has to know how to ensure that the administered dosage is right for the child’s age and weight.