There’s no shame in being scared to go to the dentist. Plenty of people share that fear! The only real shame would be letting that fear keep you from getting the oral healthcare you need. If you’re among the many who get anxious about dental procedures, sedation dentistry in Calgary may be just the solution you need.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
When you undergo a dental procedure, your dentist will typically inject a numbing agent into the area on which the work is being done. The numbing agent prevents you from feeling physical pain or discomfort, allowing your dentist to work effectively. Sedation dentistry is similar in concept, but it addresses the brain instead of the body. In sedation dentistry, anti-anxiety medication or a similar sedative is administered prior to, and sometimes during, the procedure. The sedative helps eliminate any anxiety and fear you have about the procedure, making the entire process more comfortable.
Different Degrees of Sedation
Sedation dentistry does not necessarily involve putting you “to sleep” for the procedure, as is common with surgery on other parts of the body. Most methods of sedation will allow you to remain conscious and able to respond to questions or direction from your dentist, but in a completely relaxed state.
- In mild sedation, the sedative is typically administered in pill form. You will be instructed to take the medication at a set time prior to your appointment, so that you will be relaxed when you arrive. If you are not relaxed, more medication may be administered before the procedure begins.
- Moderate sedation is achieved with stronger pharmaceutical medications, which are generally administered intravenously prior to and during your procedure. Moderate sedation leads to a deeper level of relaxation than mild sedation, while still allowing you to remain conscious.
- Deep sedation is also known as general anaesthesia, which means that you will be unconscious for the procedure. This is typically reserved only for special circumstances, as allergic reactions and other complications are more common with general anaesthetics.
Is Sedation Dentistry for Everyone?
While sedation dentistry is safe, especially for healthy adults, there are always risks when medication is being administered. Outside factors, like illness or other medications taken by the patient, increase that risk. Talk with your dentist about all relevant factors, including any medications you take, prior to moving forward with any sedation dentistry procedure.
- Insurance coverage for sedation dentistry varies, so be sure to check your policy, and consult your dental team if you need any assistance.
- Sedation slows respiration, so patients of any age with respiratory problems like asthma, chronic bronchitis, or COPD face increased risk of complications. If you’re dealing with a short-term respiratory problem, sedation may be an option once the conditioned has cleared up. Obese patients and those with chronic respiratory problems are generally advised to avoid sedation, if possible.
- Elderly patients can also be high-risk for sedation, though the level of risk is highly dependent on the patient’s overall health, allergy history, and current medications. Being elderly isn’t necessarily high-risk on its own, but it’s important to analyze all factors before moving forward with sedation.
- While sedation dentistry can be used for children, it’s ideally a last resort option. Sedatives are powerful, and kids don’t always react to them in the same way as adults. Children, like the elderly, also face a naturally higher risk of potential complications in all areas, even if they are completely healthy.
Sedation dentistry is a great option with a very low risk level for healthy adults. All patients, however, should consult with their dentist to determine whether sedation dentistry is the right option for you. You shouldn’t be forced to go without necessary oral healthcare because of fear or anxiety, and with sedation dentistry, you don’t have to.
The knowledgeable, friendly team at Loreen Wong Laser and Family Dentistry is ready to handle all your oral health needs. We offer a wide variety of dental services, and know how to deal with insurance companies to get you the care you need. You can see and feel the difference made by great oral health!