A friend may have told you about a time they passed out on the dentist’s chair. You don’t think much of it until a few years later when you find yourself in the dentist’s chair, and the same thing happens to you. Anxiety about dental work can be crippling for some people, but sedation dentistry in Greenville, SC, can help.

If you’ve ever felt nervous about going to the dentist, you’re not alone. Many people have a lot of dental anxiety, making it difficult to get the dental care they need. While some dental procedures, like fillings, don’t require any form of sedation, many people benefit from the relaxation and comfort of dental sedation.

Dental sedation is a safe way to help patients cope with dental anxiety. It can also help reduce the pain and discomfort of dental procedures like fillings, extractions, and root canals.

an expert in sedation dentistry in Greenville SC works on a child's teeth

FAQs About Sedation Dentistry

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a safe way to help patients cope with dental anxiety. It is a medically administered procedure in which a sedative is used to relax the patient enough to help them tolerate dental work without its pain. The patient’s comfort is the top priority during this procedure, as sedatives can reduce the pain and anxiety of the patient.

Once you complete the procedure, the sedative wears off, and the patient experiences a general sense of relief and relaxation.

Who Needs Sedation Dentistry?

Anyone nervous about a dental procedure can benefit from sedation, including people who had bad experiences at the dentist in the past.

Other patients could also enjoy sedation dentistry if they:

  • Are afraid of needles
  • Are overly concerned with pain
  • Gag easily
  • Have trouble with long procedures
  • Are having a long procedure

Sedation dentistry is a great way to help many of these patients. Dentists can provide dental care more conveniently and efficiently, and patients are more likely to complete the entire treatment process.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?

While sedation dentistry is an effective way of treating dental anxiety, it is important to understand that you can minimize the risk of sedation by following the proper guidelines and using the proper equipment and techniques. Before the dentist administers sedatives, they must fully assess and examine the patient first to ensure no contraindications to sedation.

In addition, the sedative given must be a safe and appropriate medication for the patient. Finally, the dental technician must have the proper skills, experience, and training to administer the sedative safely. The dentist must also know the patient’s medical history, current medications, and allergies.

If all these are met with caution, sedation dentistry is a safe and effective treatment for many patients.

Will Sedation Also Relieve Pain?

When sedation dentistry is used, the patient’s anxiety and discomfort are reduced or eliminated, allowing them to comfortably tolerate the dental procedures. Although the sedative may also relieve pain, this is not the primary goal of sedation dentistry. For many patients, fear of pain is the single biggest factor contributing to their dental anxiety.

By providing dental care while reducing the patient’s anxiety and discomfort, sedation dentistry can be an excellent treatment for patients currently suffering from dental anxiety.

What are the Types of Sedation Used?

There are many forms of sedation dentistry, but three of the most common sedatives used in dentistry are nitrous oxide gas, oral sedation, and intravenous sedation.

Nitrous Oxide Gas

Nitrous oxide gas can be administered through a nasal cannula, a small device placed in the nostrils. Using a vaporizer, the patient breathes the gas in, producing a mild euphoric feeling in the patient. This type of sedation is extremely popular because it does not require additional procedures or equipment to administer.

While it is considered safe for most sedation dentistry patients, it is not recommended for people with breathing difficulties, such as asthma or heart patients.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is another common form of pain relief in dentistry. It is administered by mouth, usually through a small pill. There are many different types of oral sedation, but all are designed to help the patient relax before or during dental procedures. Common forms of oral sedation include the following:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Oxycodone
  • Propofol (used in conjunction with IV or intranasal delivery of another sedative)
  • Ketamine (a dissociative)

In many cases, oral sedation is also combined with nitrous oxide. One advantage of oral sedation is that it is generally safe and comfortable for those with allergies or who are currently taking medications.

IV Sedation

When other forms of sedation dentistry do not work or are not practical for the patient, IV sedation is often the next option. A patient’s vein is accessed using an IV, and medication is administered directly into the vein. IV sedation is generally considered a more thorough and effective form of sedation than other types.

However, the risk with sedation dentistry is considerably higher than the other types of sedation; thus, it is recommended that only trained, experienced dental professionals perform IV sedation. IV sedation is not recommended for pregnant women, small children, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

a pediatric patient approves of sedation dentistry in Greenville SC

Need to Learn More About Sedation Dentistry in Greenville, SC?

If you have an upcoming dental procedure, talk with your dentist at Pelham Links Family and Cosmetic Dentistry about your options. We can review your health history, discuss the risks and benefits of sedation dentistry, and recommend the appropriate level of sedation for your needs. Call us today to learn more!