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Sedation Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry: Can You Really Relax in the Dentist’s Chair?

Does the thought of getting a teeth cleaning make you sweat? Does you sometimes think it might be better to just endure the pain of a toothache than to step foot in your local dentist’s practice? You’re definitely not alone. Many people are so nervous about seeing the dentist that they’d prefer not to receive any treatment at all.

For individuals who would rather avoid dentists like the plague, sedation dentistry may relieve some of their anxiety. Sedation can be useful for everything from invasive procedures to an ordinary tooth cleaning. How it is used depends on how severe the individual’s fear may be.

Patients are advised to visit the dentist about twice a year for a cleaning — and the expected lecture about how important it is to floss one’s teeth. But if you’re anything like the typical dental patient, this advice may not be taken too seriously. The effects of habitual flossing are not immediately noticeable, and that is a part of the problem, according to Alla Wheeler, professor of the Dental Hygiene Program at the NYU’s School of Dentistry. “Patients don’t think about it…”.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help the patient relax during when having dental work done. It is often referred to as “sleep dentistry,” although patients are typically awake (with the exception of patients who are under general anesthesia).

There are different levels of sedation including the following:

  • Minimal – the patient is awake, but relaxed.
  • Moderate (formerly called “conscious sedation”) – the patient may slur their words when speaking and have little recollection of the procedure.
  • Deep – patient is on the edge of consciousness but can easily be awakened.
  • General anesthesia – you are completely unconscious.
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