Sedation Dentistry in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, & Hampton, VA
Pain Perception and Dental Care
For ages now, people have avoided going to dentists. If and when they have to go, they have this dreaded feeling that something will go wrong or that they will have a painful experience. Despite the fact that dental procedures have advanced dramatically and today, most dental treatments can be performed with very little, the pain perception still prevents many people from taking adequate care of their oral health. Sedation dentistry has played an important role in helping these people get the treatment they need.
The fact is that the outcome of dental visits is greatly dependent on the patient's perception of pain. According to findings of a research study published in the Journal of Oral Sciences, there is a definite connection between dental anxiety and the perception of pain. Patients who had greater anxiety related to dentistry experience more pain as compared to those who are not as anxious.
There are different ways in which you can deal with this anxiety. First and foremost, you need to speak to your dentist about your fears regarding pain. You also need to understand the procedure and ask questions so that you become more comfortable with what it might entail. You have to understand that the dentist is not your enemy. They don't want you to feel pain. They are simply trying to keep your teeth healthy and to prevent complications in future which could actually cause you more pain if not treated in time.
Patient comfort is a critical component of a good dental practice. Sedation dentistry falls in tune with this goal as it helps patients have a pain-free experience while undergoing procedures that are important for the management and maintenance of their oral health.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry essentially includes a number of anesthesia techniques that are used during dental procedures to provide comfort, sleep, and a pain-free procedure. Some of the major types of sedation techniques include:
- Minimal sedation which refers to a sedation technique where the patient is awake but is relaxed.
- Moderate sedation refers to a form of sedation where the patient is relaxed, may slur their words when they speak and are in a state where they don't feel pain and may not remember most of the procedure.
- Deep sedation refers to a form of iv sedation dentistry where the patient is right on the edge of consciousness. They can be awakened whenever required.
- General anesthesia refers to a form of iv sedation dentistry where the patient is completely unconscious. This form is also called sleep dentistry.
The key reason for the use of iv sedation dentistry is to promote comfort and to eliminate the anxiety, pain, and stress- symptoms that often make many individuals nervous about coming to the dentist. The other key benefit of iv sedation dentistry is that it allows the individual to undergo multiple procedures at the same setting, without any discomfort. Overall, unlike the anesthesia delivered in a hospital, iv sedation dentistry is usually light, and patient recovery is much faster.
Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is considered quite ideal for patients who have multiple dental issues and require multiple procedures. By relaxing these patients through iv sedation dentistry, dentists can fix the issues in one session. The patients will not experience pain and will not have to undergo treatment again and again.
Sedation dentistry is may also be a good choice for individuals who are nervous and/or anxious about dental treatment. Knowing that they will not feel the pain can be quite comforting for some people and can help treat the issues without any delay.
Sedation dentistry is also recommended for Individuals who gag during dental treatment. Rather than take the risk of the patient experiencing discomfort or any complications, the dentist can simply use iv sedation dentistry to help them relax and to give them a pain-free experience.
Finally, for individuals with medical disorders like hypertension, diabetes, allergies or asthma, sedation dentistry can be a good option as it allows the patient to be closely monitored during the procedure and makes the surgery safe.
Sedation Dentistry and Children
Sedation dentistry is extremely useful for children. The fact is that most children are afraid of the dental office. This fear can often lead to delays in seeking treatment. For children who are apprehensive or anxious about the dentist, sedation dentistry is the ideal method of conducting most common procedures. There are two key advantages of using sedation dentistry in children. First, the children will get the treatment they need with as little pain as possible. Second, for children with multiple dental issues, the dentist can fix those issues in one session without forcing the children to come back again. Fewer dental visits and quick and pain-free treatment are big advantages when it comes to treating children.
Is sedation dentistry safe?
Every single day, thousands of people undergo anesthesia in hospitals. Complications are very rare. The same concepts are applied in sedation dentistry. Dental clinics that offer sedation dentistry have a qualified and trained anesthetist on site and present in the surgery room at all times. Patients who undergo sedation anesthesia in a dental office are monitored in several ways including a close eye on their blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygenation. In addition, all dental clinics that offer sedation dentistry have resuscitative equipment in each room. After every sedation dentistry procedure, the patient is allowed to wake up. Patients are closely observed, all key vitals are reviewed, and the patient is allowed to wake up/recover while they are in the in the recovery room. Only when the patient is fully alert are they discharged and allowed to go home.
Sedation dentistry is not taken lightly, and dental professionals understand what it entails and how it should be done properly.
Possible Side Effects
Some people upon waking up from anesthesia may develop mild nausea or vomiting. However, this is very rare with modern day medications. Even if nausea and vomiting develop, it can be easily managed with medications at the dental clinic.
Can I drive after sedation dentistry?
In general, the ability to drive after anesthesia depends on the type of anesthetic agent that was administered. If you were administered only a local anesthetic, you could drive right after the dental procedure as long as you are mentally alert. In cases where you underwent iv sedation dentistry, it is generally recommended that you do not drive right after the procedure. Ideally, there should be someone from your family, or your friends to pick you up after the procedure. Anyone who had general anesthesia or iv sedation dentistry is not allowed to operate heavy machinery or drive for at least 18-24 hours.
What is local anesthesia?
Local anesthesia refers to a sedation technique where the anesthetic drug is administered by a needle. The dental surgeon will inject the local anesthetic into a specified area of the mouth. This is the most commonly used form of anesthesia for dental procedures. It works immediately, and its actions can last 3-5 hours. The local anesthetic usually numbs the tooth, tongue, lips, and cheeks. After the local anesthetic, most patients feel no pain. However, local anesthesia does not help relieve anxiety. In addition to people who have a fear of needles, local anesthesia may not be ideal. That is where sedation dentistry can help.
What is intravenous sedation?
There are some people who are extremely nervous or anxious about a dental visit. These people often benefit from light intravenous sedation. This essentially involves administering a sedative through an intravenous line during the procedure. Intravenous sedation is often combined with local anesthesia to ease the pain. The procedure is often performed by an anesthesiologist or an anesthetic nurse. The patient is monitored continuously. Once the surgery is over, the intravenous sedation is discontinued. Recovery is generally quite rapid for most patients. This type of anesthesia works rapidly, is safe and eases anxiety. The only thing that people need to know is that the patient cannot drive home and will need someone to take them home.
When is general anesthesia used in IV sedation dentistry?
General anesthesia is not commonly used for most dental procedures. However, it is a useful technique when infants and small children need major dental procedures. In addition, for some adults who are extremely anxious and do not want to feel any pain, general anesthesia is an option. As always, general anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist with continuous monitoring. There is usually no pain during general anesthesia. After the procedure, patients need several hours to completely recover. They are not usually discharged before this happens. Someone must pick the patient up as driving for the next 24 hours is not recommended. Some patients may experience mild nausea or vomiting after the procedure, but with today’s medications, this is seldom a problem.
Which type of anesthesia do I need?
The type of anesthesia that one needs during a dental procedure depends on the complexity of the surgery, expected duration and the physical and mental status of the patient. A large majority of patients can safely undergo dental procedures under local anesthesia. However, for those who are nervous, anxious, very young or apprehensive about the impending treatment, there are solutions that a dental anesthesiologist can offer. No matter what type of anesthesia is selected, all patients are continuously monitored by a dedicated staff member. The anesthesiologist will discuss with you all the potential risks and benefits of the different types of anesthesia. It is important to understand that the patient also has a say in the type of anesthesia they want.
What are the preparations required prior to sedation dentistry?
There are no special precautions necessary for a procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia. However, if you are undergoing iv sedation dentistry or general anesthesia, you will be asked not to eat or drink 8 hours prior to the surgery. In addition, you will need to wear comfortable clothes and have someone drive you home after the procedure. If you are on any blood thinning medications or have any type of heart problem, you must tell the anesthesiologist or the dentist beforehand. In most cases, blood-thinning medications have to be stopped 3-7 days prior to the procedure. If you have a heart problem, you may need an extra dose of an antibiotic. You should provide all this information to your dentist as a lot of preparation will depend on your medical history and existing medical conditions if any.
What is the cost of sedation dentistry?
The cost of sedation dentistry depends on the type of anesthesia that will be used during your procedure as well as the duration of the surgery, and the extent of monitoring that will be required Sedation dentistry is usually covered if you have dental insurance, but again, this depends on what type of procedure is being performed. Some cosmetic procedures may not be covered by insurance. It is best to discuss expected costs with your dentist and speak to your insurance company before the procedure.
Dental Care at The Foleck Center
The Foleck Center has a team of dentists that specialize in sedation dentistry. We understand that there are many people who avoid going to the dentist for regular checkups because they suffer from dental anxiety. We are here to help, and we are here to make you understand that sedation dentistry is a safe method that will give you an anxiety-free dental experience. Many people think the patient is always put to sleep in sedation dentistry. That is not true. In most dental procedures, the sedatives we use to let the patient stay awake but only help them relax. There is usually no injection involved, and there is no anxiety and no pain. Call us if you have any questions or concerns about sedation dentistry and our dental team will be more than happy to answer all your questions. There are different options that we offer, and the decision is dependent on the type of procedure that needs to be performed. Contact the Foleck Center for more information.