Going to the dentist is a test of one’s will for people who associate the whirring sound of the dentist’s drill with the severe discomfort they would have to endure for seemingly endless minutes. Dentists in Philadelphia are aware of their patients’ anxiety, and offer sedation dentistry to help their patients relax and get through their procedures with as little discomfort as possible.
By definition, sedation dentistry is the process whereby dentists administer medication that calms patients down during a procedure. The sedatives used generally do not put patients to sleep, with the exception of general anesthesia.
According to WebMD.com, there are various degrees of sedation that a patient can experience: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia. Patients under minimal sedation feel relaxed, while moderately sedated patients exhibit slurred speech and fail to recall most of the procedure. Deeply sedated patients are usually on the cusp of being unconscious, but can still be awakened, while anesthetized patients are completely unconscious.
Sedation may come in the form of inhalation sedation, oral sedation, intravenous sedation, and the aforementioned general anesthesia. Inhalation sedation involves having the patient breathe in nitrous oxide until he or she feels relaxed. When it comes to oral sedation, the patient has to ingest medicine like Valium or Halycon. Intravenous sedation is the process of injecting the sedative through one’s bloodstream so that the medication can immediately take effect; the same goes for anesthesia, albeit IV-sedated patients are not unconscious.
Patients who wish to undergo sedation dentistry must confer with their dentists regarding what kind of sedative method is appropriate. A certified sedation dentist in Philadelphia such as Dr. Thomas DeFinnis, for instance, administers IV sedation only as the need arises or if the procedure calls for it. A professional anesthesiologist helps supervise during the process.
To help patients overcome their dental anxieties, an experienced Philadelphia sedation dentist would walk patients through each procedure and even provide information on the tools to be used. This way, patients can feel as comfortable as possible.
Finally, it is worth noting that patients should take note of whether they are indeed suitable, health-wise, to undergo dental sedation in order to avoid complications during their procedure. It is wise to have a check-up prior to taking any sedative-laden treatments simply to be on the safe side.
(Source: Sedation Dentistry, dentalfearcentral.org)