Sedation Dentistry

Ask Dr. Griffin

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One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it might have taken a couple of hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments.

If you are reluctant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about undergoing long or complicated dental procedures, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of.

Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary.

Regardless of the type of sedation dentistry you receive, it is important to have a responsible caregiver accompany you to the procedure. The caregiver will remain in the office to approve minor changes to the planned treatment if needed.  Then the caregiver can drive you home after the procedure is complete and stay with you for an additional two to four hours at home.

Oral Sedatives

Sedation dentistry is now the most common technique used in the United States to quell patient fears. The technique is easy and requires no needles – just easy to swallow pills. Best of all, the medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit.  It is as if they slept through the treatment. In reality, sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation. Oral sedative medications such as triazolam can be given to a patient 30 minutes to an hour before the dental appointment and the rest is easy!

Sleep Dentistry or Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry has occasionally been dubbed “sleep dentistry”, but this term is misleading. In actual fact, you do not sleep during the procedure (like a general anesthetic would produce), but because of the effects produced by the sedative, you may feel sleepy.  You can answer questions appropriately if asked such as “are you comfortable?’ or “can I get you a pillow?” but you will close your eyes and relax as soon as the questions stop.

Sedation dentistry enables you to be kept awake throughout the entire procedure, but you will feel relaxed and likely won’t remember much about your treatment. Please note that the use of general anesthesia is not considered sedation dentistry.