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Sedation Dentistry for the Problematic Patient

If you dread the thought of going on a dental chair, don’t worry; you are not alone. Most of us equate visits to the dentists as equivalent to a living nightmare with that awful drill and lots of pain, though experience has taught us that under the hands of a skilled dentist the pain is minimal. But there is no gainsaying how we feel; we still tense up and this makes the experience worse.

In response to this general if unreasoning dread of dentists, there are clinics that offer sedation dentistry to calm the most jumpy of patients. Sedation dentistry is not a specialty per se, although general practitioners and pediatric dentists typically go through several courses to train them in the use of pharmacological agents called sedatives designed to calm and relax patients.

A patient can choose the degree of sedation to which he or she will be reduced to. Minimal sedation leaves the patient awake and aware but calm. Moderate sedation reduces the patient to a semi-conscious state where the patient is awake but speech is slurred and events that happen during the sedation period may not be remembered. With deep sedation, the patient is placed in an unconscious state and will not respond to stimulus.

In general, sedation is accomplished orally, rectally, or through inhalation. The sedative may also be introduced into the central nervous system intravenously or intramuscularly. This will depend on the preferred method of the dentist and the patient, which will be discussed prior to sedation.

Sedation dentistry is ideal for specific patients as enumerated on the website of Dr. Sid K. Steadman D.D.S., such as those with physical limitations that preclude extended periods with the mouth open i.e. jaw muscle problems. Sedation will help relax the patient safely and sufficiently to carry out the necessary procedure.