Sometimes, sedation can be part of your dentist’s recommendations for the best dental care for you. If you’re curious about dental sedation, here’s what you need to know.
Our patients’ needs are varied, and sometimes sedation is part of the best plan for you to be comfortable and receive the care you need. To help you understand sedation and make sure that you feel confident and safe while in our care, we’ve put together a breakdown of the basics and some answers to common questions.
I’m really anxious when visiting the dentist – can sedation help? What other situations might require sedation?
It’s common for patients to choose sedation for a more complex or uncomfortable surgery such as the removal of wisdom teeth, and this is likely the first reason for sedation in a dental environment that comes to mind.
However, some patients experience extreme anxiety with any dental procedure, even something like a routine cleaning. Sedation can be very helpful in creating a more calm experience, making it possible for anxious patients to receive important dental care.
Another common reason for sedation is an overactive gag reflex. This condition can make any dental care very difficult, and sedation can help to minimize that reflex so that the patient can be cared for properly.
What types of sedation are available?
We have three options for sedation here in our clinic:
- Nitrous oxide is what you might know as “laughing gas.” This sedative is inhaled as a mist via a nebulizer. Most people have a fairly instantaneous reaction to nitrous oxide and will quickly feel relaxed and comfortable.
- Oral sedatives are taken in a pill form. As the dosage of pills cannot be titrated the way a gas or IV sedative can, our doctors will use the patient’s medical history as an indicator of dosage, and will wait about 45 minutes to ensure that the desired effect has been achieved before starting any procedure. Your dentist may recommend a combination of oral and gas sedation in some cases.
- IV sedation is administered via an IV drip, and this is the only form of sedation in our clinic where the patient will feel “asleep.” IV sedation can be carefully titrated to an exact dosage, and is administered in our clinic by either Dr. Archer or Dr. Kindrat with the assistance of an IV team.
How do I know that I will be safe while sedated?
Your safety is always our most important priority! In order for our clinic to administer sedation, we have to qualify for and adhere to strict regulations and by-laws.
To achieve and retain our PBM (Pharmacological Behaviour Management) Facility Sedation Permit, our clinic is audited every 5 years to ensure that we are maintaining up-to-date safety equipment and emergency supplies, keeping up with proper record keeping and following correct procedures, and have current Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Certifications.
Dr. Kindrat and Dr. Archer are both PBM Certified, which qualifies them to administer IV sedation. To be certified, the doctors had to achieve 200 hours of study as well as perform 20 sedations in front of an instructor panel. To maintain this certification, Dr. Archer and Dr. Kindrat must stay current by performing a minimum of 5 sedations and attending at least 6 hours of courses each year.
Our doctors do a full patient medical history before any sedation, to make sure that any potential risks are identified and to determine the sedation method and dosage for each unique patient. We only sedate low risk patients, and always start with small doses to confirm that no negative reactions are present before we continue. During sedation, we continuously monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and other important signs to ensure that the patient is safe and comfortable.
Overall, the sedation products available now are less harsh and more comfortable than ever before, and we are always up-to-date on the latest products and methods to make sure that we’re offering our patients the safest and more effective dental sedation options available.
What do I need to know prior to sedation? What should I expect afterward?
Before any sedation, your team at TDG will provide you with a full and comprehensive package of information on everything you need to know prior to your procedure. Your team will talk you through what to expect, answer your questions, and listen to any concerns you might have.
Following any type of sedation, we’ll have you remain in our recovery room for a period of time to ensure that you are safe and ready to leave before we send you home; normally, you can expect to remain in the recovery room for about an hour. Always be sure to arrange for a ride home, as it is not safe to drive yourself! Remember that being sedated will alter your normal thinking in the same way that alcohol or other drugs can; for this reason, we always recommend planning to head straight home and just relax for the rest of the day.
Stay informed about your oral health!
Being informed goes hand-in-hand with feeling confident and comfortable! Along with our blog, we have created a Dental Library full of articles that simply and succinctly walk you through many common oral health issues, overviews of services and technology at TDG, and more. Our dentists and the rest of our team will always be happy to answer your questions as well – don’t hesitate to get in touch.