Sedation Dentistry Services in Morgantown, WV

Sedation Dentistry: Can You Really Relax in the Dentist’s Chair?

Does the thought of having the dentist clean your teeth make your entire body tense with fear? Would you rather endure the agony of a toothache than step foot in a dentist’s office? You are not alone. A lot of people have such a phobia about going to the dentist that they prefer not to have any treatment. It is our pleasure, at Howell & Everett, DDS, to discuss how we can make every visit to our office the best it can be. Contact us for an appointment to discuss if sedation dentistry may be right for you.

For people who avoid dentists like the plague, sedation dentistry may take away some of the anxiety. We offer effective sedation for everything, from invasive procedures to a simple tooth cleaning. Use of sedation depends on the severity of the fear and the health of each patient.

Recommending Sedation for Comfortable Oral Health Care

One zing to the nerve of a tooth after a sip or bite of food is enough to send even the hungriest bear running from the kitchen. Sensitive teeth can seriously limit the enjoyment of your favorite fare. So, if ice cream meeting your tooth has you seeing stars, the layer beneath the surface of your tooth (called dentin) has become exposed, according to Eric Sung, DDS, a professor at UCLA’s School of Dentistry.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. It is sometimes referred to as ‘sleep dentistry,’ although that is not entirely accurate. Patients are usually awake, except those who are under general anesthesia. The different levels of sedation include:

Minimal sedation: where you are awake, but relaxed.
Moderate sedation: formerly called “conscious sedation,” where you may slur your words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.

Deep sedation: where you are on the edge of consciousness, but can still be awakened.
general anesthesia: where you are completely unconscious.

Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry

Inhaled, minimal sedation: You breathe in nitrous oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas,” combined with oxygen, through a mask that is placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax. The dentist can control the amount of sedation you receive, and the gas tends to wear off quickly. This is the only form of sedation where you may be able to drive yourself home after the procedure.

Oral sedation: Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically, the pill is Halcion, which is a member of the same drug family as Valium. It is usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you will still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most people associate with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure, although they can generally reawaken with just a gentle shake. Regardless of which type of sedation you receive, you will also typically need a local anesthetic—numbing medication at the site where the dentist is working in the mouth—to relieve pain if the procedure causes any discomfort.

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