One of the main reasons that sedation dentistry has become very popular lately is due to the fact that it offers several benefits for both the patient and the dentist. For some patient groups, the use of sedation dentistry is actually the only way that they can get the dental care they need and improve their dental health.
Sedation dentistry is the use of medication to put a patient in a relaxed state while the dentist performs the dental procedure. The sedative drugs help the patient to become free of stress and anxiety, reduce memory of the treatment, and make the dental appointment a much less unpleasant experience especially in case of invasive treatments. On the same time, sedation makes the procedure easier for the dentist, allowing him to concentrate on performing the dental treatment in the best possible way to a fully co-operative patient.
The main benefits of sedation dentistry for the patient and the dentist include the following:
Dental anxiety and dental phobia are estimated to keep away form the dental office more than 10% of patients with a dental problem. Even more decide to postpone treatment due to dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry can transform dental visits to a relaxing experience, with the patient relieved from stress and fear.
Everyone who is about to have a dental treatment can benefit from the increased level of comfort offered through sedation dentistry. After a lengthy treatment you will feel much less tired if you have been sedated. Patients with tmj problems, jaw soreness and difficulty to keep their mouth wide open will be much more comfortable with dental sedation. Some types of dental sedation (e.g. nitrous oxide) may also increase the pain threshold making some procedures possible with no or less local anesthesia.
Sedation minimizes the movements of the dental patient, which is extremely beneficial in case of several medical conditions that affect the patient’s movement control. The uncontrolled and unexpected movements of the patient make it almost impossible for the dentist to perform the treatment unless the patient is sedated. In serious conditions, conscious sedation may not be enough requiring deep sedation or general anesthesia.
Another benefit of sedation dentistry which is very important for the dentist is the increased patient co-operation. Patients with mental conditions and some very anxious children may be so uncooperative that may make difficult to get proper dental care.
Reducing the gag reflex is an added benefit of sedation dentistry. Gagging, especially if it is anxiety-induced, can be managed very successfully with sedation. If you have a sensitive gag reflex and you feel the urge to choke or throw up when your dentist is working in your mouth, sedation dentistry can significantly reduce this feeling.
Amnesia is one of the side effects of dental conscious sedation, which for some patients can be also a major benefit of sedation dentistry. After treatment, if you had been sedated, you remember very few or none of the details of the dental procedure. You will feel that the procedure lasted only some minutes, even if it has lasted for several hours. Certain invasive dental procedures such as gum surgery or multiple extractions can be a very traumatic experience. Many patients (especially those with dental anxiety) will be much more comfortable if they can erase these memories with sedation.
Sedation dentistry can help patients to tolerate longer appointments without feeling discomfort or getting exhausted from keeping their mouth open. The dentist can also work easier, being able to operate for longer time. With sedation dentistry, complex or multiple procedures that would require many appointments can be completed in a few or even a single dental visit; a huge benefit of dental sedation for patients with time constraints and very tight schedule.
Dental sedation has a cost that must be added to the cost of dental treatment, so it may sound strange that you can actually save money by paying for sedation. But having sedation dentistry can finally prove to be a money saving technique. If your dentist can finish your treatment in less appointments, the savings in operational costs for the dental office can result in reduced treatment fees for you the patient. At the end you may pay less for a dental visit plus dental sedation than for more visits that would be necessary without sedation. Additionally, you should consider how much is worthy your own saved time.
Another added benefit of sedation dentistry is that many dentists say that they can provide better treatment quality when the patient is under dental sedation. With a relaxed patient the dentist can concentrate on performing the dental procedure with better accuracy, without having to worry about patient movements or gagging, having to speed up because the patient has got tired, or to slow down because he feels discomfort. It can also help to reduce the post-operative muscle stiffness and healing time.
This is the combined effect of all the benefits of sedation dentistry already discussed in this article. For a significant part of dental patients, sedation dentistry gives them the opportunity to improve their oral health by helping them to get the best possible level of dental care. Otherwise, some of these patients, such as those suffering from dental phobia, might have never visited the dentist to receive dental treatment, while others might get inadequate treatment as a result of constraints and limitations due to psychological, physical or social reasons.
Since sedation dentistry has become widely available, nobody has a reason to miss regular check-ups or avoid dental treatment when necessary. Sedation dentistry has significantly reduced the conditions that were preventing patients from enjoying the beautiful, healthy smile they deserve.
Due to the many benefits of sedation dentistry both for the patient and the sedation dentist, it is expected that it will become even more popular in the next years being regularly used for a wider range of dental procedures.