Sedation dentistry benefits patients who experience extreme nervousness or anxiety before a dental procedure due to a number of reasons, states WebMD. Patients who have a low pain threshold, sensitive teeth, or a sensitive gag reflex find that dental procedures are less stressful when sedation dentistry is employed.
Patients who are apprehensive of the dentist often avoid going to the dentist, unless it is an emergency. Sedation dentistry helps these patients see their dentist for routine appointments, as well as restorative or treatment appointments, without the high level of anxiety. Dentists can often do a larger amount of work at one time when a patient utilizes sedation dentistry, reports Guide to Dentistry.
During a sedation dentistry procedure, patients are given a medication to help them relax. The type of medication differs depending on the level of sedation required by the patient, according to WebMD. The four levels of sedation include minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation and general anesthesia.
Minimal sedation leaves the patient awake and aware, but in a relaxed state. This type of sedation is achieved by breathing nitrous oxide, or by taking an oral sedation pill, such as Halcion, states WebMD. Moderate sedation also leaves the patient awake, but with a foggy memory of the procedure. Moderate sedation can be achieved by taking a larger dose of an oral sedation pill, or by receiving a sedation drug through an IV, remarks WebMD. Deep sedation and general anesthesia makes the patient unconscious for the procedure.
Patients may choose to undergo sedation dentistry during any procedure, ranging from a routine cleaning to a highly invasive procedure, reports WebMD.