refers to the use of pharmacological agents to calm and relax a patient prior to and during a dental appointment. The pharmacological agents usually belong to a class of drugs called sedatives, which exert their action by depressing the central nervous system, specifically those areas concerned with conscious awareness.
There are different degrees of central nervous system depression, each corresponding to a level of relaxation which ranges from minimal, moderate, to deep sedation. In general, minimal sedation refers to a patient who has reduced anxiety but is readily responds to verbal or physical stimulation. With moderate sedation the patient is even more relaxed, and will respond to pursposeful stimulation. In deep sedation, the patient may not exhibit any signs of consciousness and therefore be unresponsive to stimulation.
Sedation by pharmacologic methods may be obtained by two general routes. The enteral route involves absorption of medication across enteric membranes which line the alimentary canal from the oral cavity, through the digestive tract, ending in the rectum. This route includes medications that are either swallowed, absorbed through the mucosa of the oral cavity, or inserted rectally. The parenteral route involves the administration of sedative drugs other than absorption across enteric membranes (outside of the alimentary canal). These methods include intravenous, inhalation, intramuscular, and submucosal administration, among others.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry has become very popular because it offers several benefits for both the patient and the dentist. For some patient groups, the use of sedation dentistry is actually the only way that they can get the dental care they need and improve their dental health. Dental sedation can offer:
- Patient relaxation
- Increased comfort
- Movement control
- Patient co-operation
- Control of gag reflex
- Little or no memory of treatment
- Time saving – Less appointments needed
Who is a candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
Suitable candidates for sedation dentistry are all dental patients who:
- Experience stress, fear, or anxiety at the dentist
- Have had previous traumatic dental experiences
- Are afraid or embarrassed about their smile
- Are afraid of needles in their mouth
- Don’t like “Novocain” or anesthetic
- Have difficulty getting anesthetized or numb
- Have strong gag reflexes
- Need Oral Surgery or Implant Surgery
- Need Complex Major Dentistry
- Are seen for longer dental visits like Smile Makeovers & Dental Reconstruction
Facts about Oral Sedation
- It works effectively for mild to moderate fear
- It is safe! You take 1-2 sedative pills prior to your visit
- You will have very little memory of the procedure
- You will be sedated for several hours after you take the pills
- It is effective for procedures such as porcelain crowns, cosmetic veneers & dental implants
- You will need a companion to drive you to & from your appointment