Sedation is a widespread part of a number of dental procedures including root canals or wisdom tooth extractions. However, sedation is becoming increasingly common and is often given to individuals who suffer from anxiety or phobias that are too severe to get routine checkups or minor procedures done.
Sedation is generally divided into one of four categories as follows:
Oral sedatives can be given to a patient before the procedure and help to mellow and calm the individual. These can be useful for someone who has panic attacks or other fear and anxiety issues when going to the dentists. These help calm the person and relax them and it also keeps them conscious and alert during the procedure. Oral sedatives provide no pain relief, so so form of local anesthetic will also need to be administered.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
Similar to oral sedatives, these are given in a liquid form through an IV and allow for continuous levels. These are commonly used in long or involved procedures that can take a good bit of time. Like oral sedatives, this method does not provide pain relief, so a form of anesthetic must be administered.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
This is the most common type of inhalation sedation, and goes by the more common name of laughing gas. Nitrous Oxide is used to bring about a state of relaxation and calmness. A local anesthetic is needed to eliminate pain. Laughing gas is commonly used for quick procedures or minor dental work done on children and youth.
This technique of dental sedation makes use of anesthetic with the goal of rendering the patient unconscious. With this method of sedation, the patient is unaware of anything happening around them and cannot communicate, respond, or move during the procedure.
The American Dental Association “supports the right of appropriately trained dentists” when done by a professional and experienced dentist, saying that general sedation is a safe and effective treatment when properly administered.