Under the influence of sedative drugs, a patient is conscious unlike General Anesthesia where a patient is completely out and paralyzed. Here the patient responds to commands, maintains his own breathing, maintains his cough reflex and can swallow. This way the administration of sedation is safe and reduces anxiety to an extent that an anxious patient can get the necessary dental work done without any fear and a dentist can deliver quality dental work without the worry of a shaky, tense and agitated patent.
Sedation dentistry covers a wide variety of calming agents delivered via different routes of administration including: Inhalation route- Given as a gas that is breathed in, (commonly known as Laughing Gas), Oral route- by mouth in the form of a pill and Intravenous Route (IV)- Injected through a vein.
Laughing gas or nitrous oxide inhalation serves as the most well known form of conscious sedation in dentistry, with roughly 55% of dentists in the United States administering nitrous oxide as an inhalation sedative. Some effects include light headedness, perspiration and a numbing sensation in the arms and legs. It maximally achieves anxiolysis (anxiety relief) in 60- 70% of the patients it is administered to.
This may not be enough for some patients, their underlying anxiety and fear is so strong that they may need more than just this modality.
Oral sedatives render yet a different sedation solution. Normally, the patient consumes these drugs by mouth prior to the appointment. Occasionally, a dentist may well advise you to take it the night before the appointment so the anxiety does not build over night. If a patient chooses this form of sedation, they must adjust their schedules accordingly. They must to be brought to and from the office as they cannot operate a car for 24 hours just after they take the pill. Some oral sedatives include things like Valium and Halcion. A dentist needs to be trained in this modality and some states require for the dentist to have a special permit to deliver this kind of sedation.
Intravenous delivery of sedatives is by far the most advanced, and in the hands of a trained dentist, the level of sedation can be titrated to effect and patient's level of sedation can be maintained at a comfortable level by giving additional drugs or a mix of drugs within safe limits.
~S. REHAN BASHAR, DDS, BDS, FICOI, FADIA, FAGD
At Rainier Dental, we offer mild and moderate sedation.
-A combination of both inhalation or oral