Many patients experience anxiety during a dental exam or procedure. Dentists want to ensure their patients are comfortable during their visit, so they have developed sedation dentistry techniques to combat dental fear. Patients can experience several anesthetic and sedation methods, depending on their unique dental needs. Dr. Bradley Dean, a dentist and periodontist in Plano, TX, describes the different anesthesia and sedation options available to dental patients.
A local anesthetic is an injection into the nerve to numb an entire area. The medication blocks pain sensors so that the patient will not feel anything during a procedure. A dentist will use this method for smaller procedures, such as filling a cavity. The dentist will often use a topical anesthetic over the area before the injection for additional comfort for the patient. The effects of this medication last for a few hours and do not affect the patient’s consciousness or awareness.
Sedation dentistry uses medication to relax the patient before a dental procedure. This can be administered orally with a pill, intravenously, or breathed in through a mask over the nose or mouth. There are several sedation levels a dentist can use, depending on a patient’s nervousness or the complexity of the dental work.
- Minimal sedation: the patient is relaxed but fully aware of their surroundings.
- Moderate sedation: the patient is sleepy but conscious.
- Deep sedation: the patient barely awake throughout the procedure.
After the dental work is complete, the patient’s recovery from sedation will vary, depending on which sedation method is used. Oral medication has a set time in which it will remain in effect, whereas IV medication can be controlled minutely for each patient. You can ask your dentist about sedation options for any dental procedure you may need.
General anesthesia is a treatment for patients who need to be unconscious for a dental procedure. Dentists usually reserve this method for patients who require surgery, such as with dental implants. A dentist may recommend this method for patients with severe anxiety. Because this medication will cause a patient to be fully asleep for the duration of the procedure, the patient will be too groggy to drive and will need to coordinate a ride home.
Sedation options from your Plano, TX dentist
Dr. Dean is a dentist and periodontist offering sedation dentistry to patients in Plano, TX. Our practice also specializes in dental implants and gum disease treatment. For more information, schedule an appointment with us online or call us at 972.666.1594.