Dental sedation is one of the techniques that our team at Isla Dental uses for many of our procedures. Dental sedation benefits both the patient and our staff. The patient has a less strenuous experience due to the decreased pain levels. And our team can operate more efficiently due to the decreased risk of a patient's reaction to intense stimuli misdirecting or dislodging our dental devices. Sedation dentistry uses various forms of sedation.
Mild sedation is a method that involves administering an inhalable gas solution or an oral medicine to the patient to create a feeling of relaxation. Mild sedation is used for minimally-invasive procedures or for complex situations where stronger forms of sedation are not an option. The most common example of a mild sedative is nitrous oxide gas, which is quick-acting, clears from the patient's system swiftly, relaxes patients, and reduces both their pain and movements during procedures. Halcion is administered as a pill; its effects are quick, but they only last about an hour.
Conscious sedation, also known as IV sedation, is a method that involves numbing the patient to pain and relaxing the patient without rendering the patient unconscious. Conscious sedation is often used with short, non-invasive procedures. When our office employs conscious sedation, we will inject the patient's veins with a drug to achieve the desired effect. Midazolam begins its effects within three minutes and lasts for one to two hours. Propofol's effects occur within 90 seconds; however, propofol must be continuously applied via intravenous means to keep the patient sedated. Ketamine activates within a minute but only lasts up to 10 minutes, making it an option for brief procedures such as drilling a single tooth. Dexmedetomidine is a powerful sedative that is administered only in small doses; its effects are similar to putting a patient in a state of sleep, though dexmedetomidine allows our team to communicate with the patient during the procedure.
General anesthesia is applied to patients undergoing heavily-invasive procedures such as jaw surgery. General anesthesia puts the patient into a state of deep sleep; patients will not remember the details of the procedure during this level of sedation. Intravenous solutions are used for general anesthesia to maintain the patient's sleep state until the procedure is complete.
Which Level of Sedation is Correct?
The recommended level of sedation depends on both the procedure and the patient. The more invasive a dental procedure is, the more likely that a strong sedation is recommended. A procedure such as a jaw surgery or multiple teeth extractions are far more complex and lengthy than procedures such as drilling a tooth for a dental filling or dental crown or applying new orthodontic gear. The preference and pain threshold of the patient also factor heavily into the sedation decision. Patients with low pain thresholds or that are likely to move erratically during dental procedures are typically better-suited to a higher level of sedation, or mild sedation for a procedure that more experienced patients may undergo without any sedation. Before our team performs any dental procedure, we give our patients as much information as needed to explain what will happen as well as the purpose of the procedure. We work with our patients to ensure that the proper level of care, including sedation, is achieved to maximize their oral health while minimizing the impact to their lives. Please feel free to contact Isla Dental at (469) 923-0448 to schedule a consultation to establish a dental care plan for your oral health.