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4 Types of Sedation Dentistry and How They Make Care More Comfortable

It's no secret that dental procedures have the potential to be uncomfortable. Luckily, modern dental tools enable your dentist to offer you a range of options so that you can sit back and relax until the work is over.

In addition to local anesthetic, some dentists offer sedation options to help minimize your discomfort and anxiety during potentially painful procedures. In this blog, we discuss the four main kinds of sedation dentistry.

1. General

General sedation, sometimes also called general anesthesia, is typically reserved for the longest, most complex, or most potentially distressing procedures. For example, a
dentist might recommend general anesthesia during the removal of impacted wisdom teeth.

This form of sedation is the same anesthesia that a surgeon would use in a hospital. General sedation produces complete unconsciousness that either wears off after a period of time or that is negated using specialized medication after the procedure. The patient does not feel or remember anything during this unconsciousness.

Most general sedation in the dental field is administered intravenously, but this form of anesthesia can also be given as an inhalant. In cases where general sedation is called for, the patient will most likely also be prescribed a painkiller to manage post-procedure discomfort.

2. Deep

Deep sedation, which may also be referred to as deep conscious sedation, produces a semi-conscious state that borders on unconsciousness. Like general sedation, deep sedation is typically administered via IV.

Unlike general anesthesia, deep sedation does not require medication to reverse the effects. The patient can be awakened if necessary during the procedure or as planned once the treatment is complete.

Deep sedation and general sedation are often used interchangeably. These substantial forms of sedation will only be recommended for strenuous procedures or for patients who experience extreme distress and anxiety during dental care.

For example, deep sedation may be suitable for special needs patients who might otherwise feel high levels of fear and discomfort during a procedure.

3. Moderate

Moderate sedation affects consciousness, but not to the degree of general or deep sedation. This form of anesthesia reduces a patient's memory of a potentially difficult procedure, but does cause unconsciousness.

The patient could struggle to speak clearly but would be awake for the entire procedure. Some patients do feel drowsy when on the medication used for this form of sedation, but if they fall asleep they can be awakened easily.

This form of sedation is used for many routine oral surgeries, like root canals. In most cases, moderate sedation consists of a pill or pills ingested before the procedure begins. These pills are usually Halcion, which has similar properties to Valium.

However, moderate sedation can also be produced intravenously, using the same medication as deep conscious sedation in a smaller dosage. Your dentist may ask if you have a preference between the two delivery methods. Oral moderate sedation is ideal for patients who feel anxious around needles.

4. Minimal

For general procedures, such as fillings or even routine cleanings, your dentist may recommend a form of minimal sedation like nitrous oxide gas. The purpose of minimal sedation is usually to help a patient who would otherwise be tense and nervous relax while in the chair.

Most forms of minimal sedation are inhaled and wear off over time. Unlike the other forms of sedation listed, after a procedure with minimal sedation, most patients are alert enough to leave immediately and even operate their own vehicles.

If you think that sedation dentistry could improve your next oral health procedure, discuss your options with your dentist. Your dentist will consider your health and dental history as well as your concerns with the procedure at hand to determine the best option for you.

Come to King Dentistry for gentle and conscientious sedation dentistry that help you keep smiling.
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King Dentistry
3061 Geer Road | Turlock, CA 95382

Phone: 209-668-3311
Fax: 209-668-3323
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