In general terms, local anesthetics are used to help prevent pain during dental treatments. These are applied directly to the treatment site and will not induce unconsciousness. For more invasive and complicated procedures, sedation may be used in conjunction with a local anesthetic, which will relieve pain, as well as calm the patient prior to the procedure. Of course, there are several different levels of sedation that include:
- Minimal sedation – This form of sedation does not put you to sleep and although you will feel much more relaxed, you will still be able to talk, walk and breathe normally.
- Moderate sedation – With this, you will still be able to walk, talk and respond, but will feel very drowsy or sleepy. You will not be able to feel much and there will be no need for any local anesthetic. Also, depending on the type of sedation used, you may or may not have any recollection of the procedure.
- Deep sedation – For this, you will be completely unconscious but will still be able to breathe on your own. However, your Walnut Creek cosmetic dentist will also need to apply a local anesthetic since your pain reflexes will still be active.
- General anesthesia – This is the deepest level of sedation available where you will be completely unconscious and will not be able to feel any pain. You will feel as if you are asleep and will need assistance breathing.
When is sedation used?
While local anesthetic is sufficient for most dental procedures, there are some cases where your Walnut Creel cosmetic dentist might recommend sedation or general anesthetic to help ensure a safe and efficient procedure. This is determined on a case-to-case basis and is not suitable for all patients. Typically, sedation is used for patients that:
- Have a low pain tolerance or experience extreme anxiety
- Have allergies to the local anesthetic
- Require invasive or complicated procedures
- Have trouble keeping their mouths open for long periods of time
- Are unable to remain still
What is the most common form of sedation?
Minimal sedation is the most commonly used form of sedation and is typically administered by inhaling nitrous oxide or by taking a sedative such as Ativan before the procedure. When nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is administered, it is given in a mixture with oxygen which allows the patient to remain conscious while in a sedated state. This form of sedation may also be used as a combination with other medications to help increase its effectiveness.
If you have any other questions regarding sedation dentistry, don’t hesitate to call our office at (925) 937-9017 today to speak with your Walnut Creek cosmetic dentist.