Taking that one leap of faith is all it takes! It’s not so easy to ignore your anxiety and finally decide to see your dentist. However, you should congratulate yourself for giving it the best possible care it needs. If you know that your dental problem is already out of your hands, seeking professional help is the best thing to do. Good thing, at your dentist’s office, they offer sedation dentistry.
In ancient times, dental patients were not so lucky enough to receive dental treatments without pain. Fortunately, a dentist during the 19th century discovered that nitrous oxide helps keep a patient calm throughout a procedure. This gave birth to sedation dentistry that is known today. Currently, there are several of sedation techniques that dentists use in helping their patients relax during visits. Generally, there is a medication that they administer to the patient, and its effects work inside the body’s system.
Each type of sedation provides different levels of effects depending on the patient’s needs.
- Minimal sedation. This is for patients who want to be relaxed but awake throughout the procedure.
- Moderate sedation. Also known as “conscious sedation,” moderate sedation also relaxes the patient in the dentist’s chair while awake. Only that, the patient will forget mostly what happened while under sedation. Afterwards, they might also slur when speaking.
- Deep sedation. The patient is almost unconscious but can still respond to the dentist and follow instructions.
- General anesthesia. The patient is asleep and unconscious during the treatment.
Types of sedation
- Oral. Patients who are given oral sedation take a pill about an hour before the treatment. Once the medication takes effect, the patient will feel drowsy yet remain awake. There are instances that when it is given moderately, the patient will fall asleep. Nevertheless, they can quickly wake up with just a gentle shake.
- Intravenous. Dentists give intravenous or IV sedation to a patient by injecting the medication through a vein. Since the sedative goes directly to one’s bloodstream, it takes effect almost immediately. This also allows the dentist to adjust the level of sedation, giving more if necessary.
- Inhalation. By inhalation, the patient breathes in nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen through a mask to attain calmness. The gas might wear off rapidly, so the dentist manages this by continually monitoring the patient and increasing the dosage if needed. Usually, this type of sedation gives minimal effects, and the patients can still drive home safely, even without accompanying them.
Some patients report experiencing post-treatment side effects from sedation. Dentists note that most of the time, these sensations are normal and goes away a few hours after the procedure. However, be sure to make yourself aware of these common sedation side effects.
One of the side effects of sedation is a headache. Typically, the patients feel this light throbbing right after the treatment that may last for the rest of the day. This is normal as the medication gradually leaves the body.
Low blood pressure
Anesthesia can cause a blood pressure drop in a patient. This is also expected; that’s why the dentists continuously monitor the patient’s vital signs throughout the procedure.
If you can’t remember what transpired during the dental procedure even when you were conscious, you don’t have to worry. Memory loss is one of the effects of the sedative that was given to you by your dentist. As the medication wears off, you will also no longer experience this side effect.
If you feel like vomiting, there’s no need to hold it up or feel alarmed. It’s one sign that the sedation is leaving your body.
This is one reason why your dentist advises you to bring an accompaniment as you get your dental treatment. You won’t be able to drive if you can’t even stand up properly or walk straight.
Sleepiness is also expected after dental treatment. The sedation might take time to wear off or leave your system. That’s why you still feel its effects.
These side effects should be gone by the next day at most. However, if it lasts more than that, don’t hesitate to consult your Toronto dentist.
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