According to the media and popular opinion, dentistry is often something to be feared. Dentists are typecast as stern, frowning individuals holding dangerous-looking tools and equipment. As a result, fear of dentistry or dental phobia is by no means uncommon, especially among children.
As a dentist, there’s not much we can do to keep our patients from being nervous in the office, but we do have something that could make the process easier for them — sedation dentistry. Mint Dental Alaska is one of the few practices in Anchorage that has a qualified dentist who can provide this special treatment. While you might not need to be sedated for procedures as simple as a biannual checkup, we, at Mint Dental Alaska, want you to know that you always have the option of choosing sedation dentistry
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry sounds like a simple-enough idea — sedating a patient to help relieve him or her of any anxiety caused by the visit. But the field can actually be very complex. There are many levels of sedation and types of anesthesia, and picking the best option, as well as figuring out a safe dosage, is a job that requires the skills of a certified professional.
In general, there are four levels of sedation that a dentist could bring you to during a visit:
- Oral sedation which usually involves taking a pill that relaxes your body and mind;
- Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas”. Some people actually fall asleep with it;
- Conscious sedation, during which you drift on the edge of consciousness but can be woken up if needed; and,
- General anesthesia, which puts you completely to sleep.
Note that sedation dentistry isn’t the same as your dentist applying a local anesthesia during a procedure; the former refers to medication that is designed to help patients susceptible to dental anxiety and the latter is a way to prevent patients from feeling pain during dental procedures. Any dentist is qualified to apply local anesthesia during a procedure, but only specially certified professionals can administer sedation dentistry to a patient.
What types of sedation dentistry are there?
- Inhalation: The inhalation of some gases like nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can induce the effects of minimal sedation.
- Oral: These are pills that can be taken before the procedure. While it might be easier to orally ingest the sedative, it’s not always best for your body. Dosages may differ to person to person, and it takes much more calculation to figure out the right dosage, leaving room for error. Plus there is the chance that the effects will wear off before the end of the procedure, and you won’t be able to take another pill if that happens.
- Intravenous: You can also receive the drug through an IV, a process that allows for the dentist to adjust the dosage during the procedure. Mint Dental has one of the few dentists in the state qualified to perform IV sedation.
Why might I want or need sedation dentistry?
Typically, sedation dentistry isn’t a crucial part of any dental procedure. While most sophisticated procedures will definitely require local anesthesia, dentists typically only recommend sedation for the most complex and time-consuming treatments. However, that doesn’t mean that those treatments are the only time you could get sedation dentistry. If you have experienced anxiety during dental procedures in the past, next time, request sedation to make the process easier.
To find out more about how you could benefit from the sedation dentistry at Mint Dental Alaska, you can make an appointment to talk directly to one of our dentists! Just call our office at (907) 646-8672 today to set a date today!