Every year, millions of Americans avoid going to the dentist. An estimated 75 million people in the United States live with some degree of dental fear from having traumatic experiences as children or even unpleasant experiences in adulthood. For most, it’s simply a matter of not wanting to endure the pain of a lengthy procedure. Regardless of the reason, far too many individuals have stopped getting routine dental care, even when faced with warning signs of pain and tooth decay. This obviously poses many health-related problems.
There’s a solution!
Dental Anesthesiologists understand that for many people, fear and anxiety complicates access to essential treatments. They’ve undergone an extensive post-doctoral residency in anesthesiology after completing four years are at an accredited dental school. These medical professionals are highly skilled at what they do, making safety their top concern. At Chestnut Ridge Dental, we work with a specialist, Dr. Jonathan Mendia.
What is Dental Anesthesiology?
Dental Anesthesiology/Sedation dentistry is the most advanced form of dental sedation. It combines sedative and pain-relieving drugs given orally or intravenously to create a dream-like state of deep, calm relaxation for an entire dental procedure. Sedation can be used for everything from invasive procedures to a simple tooth cleaning. The level of sedation depends on the severity of fear and how invasive your procedure is.
The Levels of Sedation Include:
- Minimal sedation — you are awake but relaxed.
- Moderate sedation (formerly called “conscious sedation”) — you may slur your words when speaking and not remember much of the procedure.
- Deep sedation — you are on the edge of consciousness but can still be awakened.
- General anesthesia — you are completely unconscious.
What Types of Sedation Are Used in Dentistry?
- Inhaled minimal sedation. You breathe nitrous oxide — or “laughing gas” — combined with oxygen through a mask that’s placed over your nose. The gas helps you relax.
- Oral sedation. Depending on the total dose given, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. For minimal sedation, you take a pill. Typically the pill is Halcion, and it’s usually taken about an hour before the procedure. The pill will make you drowsy, although you’ll still be awake. A larger dose may be given to produce moderate sedation. This is the type of anesthesia most commonly associated with sedation dentistry. Some people become groggy enough from moderate oral sedation to actually fall asleep during the procedure. They usually can, though, be awakened with a gentle shake.
- IV moderate sedation. You receive the sedative drug through a vein, so it goes to work more quickly. This method allows the dentist to continually adjust the level of sedation.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia. You will get medications that will make you either almost unconscious or totally unconscious — deeply asleep — during the procedure. While you are under general anesthesia, you cannot easily be awakened until the effects of the anesthesia wear off or are reversed with medication.
After your Procedure
When waking up, patients usually have no memory of the noises, smells, needles, or drilling that took place during treatment. Patients feel like they’ve had a deep and satisfying sleep – like no time has passed at all! No pain, discomfort, or fear. Furthermore, sedation recovery time typically only lasts 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure is complete. After that, you’re free to return home.
At Chestnut Ridge Dental, we are proud to offer dental anesthesiology services to a wide variety of patients. All you need to do is tell us beforehand and we’ll make sure to take care of all the scheduling details and forms.