Sedation dentistry has been used, in one form or another, for quite a long time. Ages ago, when people first realized that removing teeth without any sedative was quite painful, it seemed liked the next logical step. However, it has since evolved into a practice utilized for more than just pain mitigation. For instance, patients that suffer from anxiety, a fear of needles, or simply have a fear of dentists are perfect candidates for sedation dentistry. In some instances, local anesthesia can easily be used to numb the area, but if you suffer from belonephobia (a fear of needles and sharp things), a local anesthesia is almost never an option. These are all circumstances in which sedation can be invaluable to patients.
The process of getting dental implants is typically a relatively painless process, but sedation is certainly an option. In sedation dentistry, there are a few different methods; the following are some of the most common:
• Inhaled sedation – This is administered by breathing in nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” through a mask fixed over your nose. This is very common sedative used in sedation dentistry and can be very helpful for a procedure such as getting dental implants.
• Oral sedation – This type of sedation dentistry is one of the more common types and the most likely to be used before getting dental implants. It involves taking a pill, such as Halcion or Valium, which will dull the senses and make the patient drowsy. In this instance, the dentist can install the dental implants with relative ease and in a relatively short period of time.
• IV sedation – This is one of the more invasive methods of anesthetic used in sedation dentistry. You receive the anesthetic intravenously, so if you’re getting dental implants and have a fear of needles, this is not the sedation for you; it’s best to go with one of the methods mentioned above. The benefit of this method is that the dentist can adjust the level of sedation throughout the process.
• General anesthesia – This is the heaviest and deepest form of sedation there is. It will either render you completely unconscious, or pretty darn close. If you’re someone that has deep anxiety and fear when it comes to dentists, needles, or anything else associated with getting dental implants, this may be the best solution.
There are a few other types of sedatives that are used, but many of them are variations of the above options. If administered by a trained dentist, sedation is pretty low-risk, but if you’re someone with obstructive sleep apnea or heart problems, it’s definitely something to talk to your doctor about.