By Aspen Dental
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Many people feel anxious about going to the dentist’s office and would rather endure a toothache than have their teeth checked. If this sounds like you, sedation dentistry could be an option. Sedation dentistry refers to the practice of using medications to sedate patients and reduce their anxiety in the dentist’s chair.
But is it safe? Generally, yes, it is safe. Like most procedures, there is always a small risk of complications, but you can reduce that risk. Assure that your dentist is certified to administer sedatives and anesthesia. Ask to see their essential emergency equipment. Make sure that they have and follow recordkeeping procedures for sedation, that they follow emergency management protocols, and that they monitor and record their patients’ vital signs while under anesthesia. A responsible sedation dentist will start by administering the minimal dosage of anesthesia to their patient. If they need more, they will give them a higher dose until the patient is comfortable and then stop.
There are multiple levels of sedation, achieved by different forms of medication. The lowest level of sedation is through inhaling nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen (also known as laughing gas). You will still be conscious, but more relaxed. For the next level, oral sedation, you will take a pill about an hour before the procedure. It will make you feel sleepy, but you’ll still be awake. IV moderate sedation is administered through a vein and makes you sleepier, sometimes lightly asleep, but you can be awakened quickly. For deep sedation or general anesthesia, you will be almost or completely unconscious. Visit us at Aspen Dental to learn more about sedation dentistry.