We use our mouths for two of the most important functions of our lives – eating and communicating with others.
So, maintaining our oral health is very important. However, visiting the dentist can be a dreadful experience for many of us.
Whether it’s a simple procedure for cleaning our teeth or something more invasive like a root canal, we know that there is pain involved in the process. But with dental sedation, most of these processes become more or less pain-free.
Dental sedation involves using sedative drugs to relax a patient by depressing the central nervous system.
During the 19th century, the prevalent practice was to use cocaine as an anesthetic, however, the toxic nature of cocaine made it a dangerous choice. It was during the latter half of the 20th century that dental anesthetics started evolving with drugs like methohexital and propofol being used for IV sedation.
In more recent times, dentists have started using Midazolam and Diazepam for sedation.
The sedation can be at different levels depending on the procedure involved and has a number of benefits as discussed below.
Relieves You of Pain
Dental work can involve a significant amount of pain that can also make patients apprehensive about their visit to the doctor.
Even a simple procedure like scaling has some amount of pain involved. Local anesthesia will numb the area where the procedure has to take place.
This prevents the patient from feeling any pain while in the chair. The sedation wears off after a few hours.
Relieves You of Anxiety
There are different levels of anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist. While some may feel anxious for days before a procedure, others may just worry for a while prior to the appointment.
Often the imagined pain is an exaggerated version of what is really in store for the patient, but the anxiety remains nevertheless. This prevents many people from seeking out proper solutions for their dental problems.
For all those nervous patients, dental sedation is the way to go. Sedation relieves the patient of fear and anxiety, allowing them to cooperate with their doctor.
Allows the Dentist to Work Faster
It is expected that a dental procedure would involve much movement and even complaints from patients, especially as it involves pain.
This will prevent the dentist from doing their work efficiently within the target schedule.
Following from the previous point, dental sedation would relieve the patient’s anxiety and calm their nerves.
This will help the dentist in working with a relatively cooperative patient without having to worry about the patient’s movements and reactions. Thus, the work gets done faster.
Minimizes Gag Reflex
A gag reflex allows you to expel any intrusive, foreign object lodged in your throat or esophagus. But it can prove to be a hindrance to the dentist if the patient is aware of what is happening and reacts accordingly.
The gag reflex is a spasm and if there is an ongoing intrusive procedure and the doctor needs to go deep inside the oral cavity, this spasm can not only prevent that but can also cause damage.
Dental sedation will immobilize the gag reflex temporarily so that it does not obstruct the procedure. So, it is a win-win situation for the patient as well as the dentist.
Hinders Your Ability to Create Painful Memories
No one looks forward to their dentist appointment with excitement. Whether you had a procedure last month or ten years ago, the experience, especially if there was pain involved, will not be easily forgotten.
With dental sedation, the sedatives used during a procedure will prevent patients from creating new memories. This means that any pain or anxiety felt during the procedure will not be registered by the brain.
This effect of partial amnesia will help the patient in not only calmly getting through the ongoing procedure but will prevent them from dreading future visits to the dentist.
So, the next time you have a toothache, you need not hesitate in visiting the dentist. With the use of dental sedation, the expected pain and anxiety associated with dental procedures have been done away with.
This not only helps the patients psychologically but improves the process for the dentist as well. The more relaxed the patient is, the more easily the dentist will be able to do his work.
However, dental sedation has its own risks. Patients suffering from sleep apnea or those who are obese should consult their doctor on the use of anesthesia during the dental procedure as it may cause complications for them.
Otherwise, sedation is a more or less safe practice, and enormously helpful to both the patient and the doctor.