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Sedation Dentistry: Risks vs Benefits

Sleep dentistry

The ‘buzz-ing’ sound of a dentist’s tool is the most terrifying thing in the world for many people, not just kids. I remember when I was a kid, going to the dentist was a short horror story – I would cry for hours before even leaving the house, I would cry on the way to the dentist, I would cry while in the dentist chair, and afterwards I would be mad because mum took me to the dentist and cry some more. I am a grown young woman now but I still fear dentists. If maybe, back them mum allowed the dentist to give me some kind of sedation so that I don’t go through that excruciating pain of tooth extraction, I probably would’ve been more tolerant towards dental profession. But now, I’m not.

As far as sedation matters, sleep dentistry is a huge step in development. Today, no dentist would even consider doing anything to your teeth without some sort of at least mild sedation. Mainly because childhood fears have transformed into grown-up traumas and because some people simply don’t have the time to undergo a dental operation without sedation. Whichever the case, sleep dentistry is a real opportunity to get all your teeth fixed without tears.

Anything from tooth inspection, root canal operation, wisdom teeth extraction and every other possible dental procedure you can imagine, all is done with the use of some kind of sedation. The good thing about sleep dentistry is that you won’t feel anything during the procedure – you’ll be able to hear everything but won’t feel anything.

There are 4 types of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation – you’re able to hear and respond to anything the dentist says to you or asks you.
  • Moderate sedation – you may need light stimulation to answer to some verbal commands.
  • Deep sedation – you don’t feel or hear anything, and painful stimulation may be needed to awake you from deep drug-induced depression.
  • General anaesthesia – you can’t be aroused even if painful stimulation is used. This type of sedation is used when long-lasting surgical procedures take place.

In order to use sedation, a dentist must undergo certain trainings. Not everyone can, or is allowed to for that matter, to practice sedation dentistry, especially not general anaesthesia and deep sedation. Sedation in general comes with some risks, which is the main reason why dentists are required to have certification.

  • Because dentists often use nitrous oxide with oral medications to increase the sedation effect, some people may find it hard to handle it. Moreover, allergies can occur, which can be extremely dangerous.
  • Changes in blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels may happen in addition to respiratory problems, which can’t always be predictable. That being said, patients with certain conditions like pregnancy, heart or liver problems should take extra precautions to protect themselves.
  • If your dentist isn’t trained for sleep dentistry, you might want to reconsider your choice of dentist. A dosage just slightly more than needed can have horrible even fatal consequences.