6 Myths About Sedation Dentistry

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Despite dental sedation being widely used in the dental profession for quite some time, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding its use. Read on in this blog from First Smiles Children's Dentistry to find out why these six common dental sedation myths aren’t true.

Sedation Makes You Unconscious

This is not true for most sedatives. There is only one type of dental sedation that puts you into a state of unconsciousness and that’s general anesthesia. IV sedation in larger doses can also put you into a deep sleep but without the need for breathing assistance through a tube. 

Most patients who receive dental sedation receive a conscious type of sedation which causes the patient to feel relaxed and melts away their stress and fear while remaining completely alert and aware of their surroundings.

Children Can’t Be Sedated

Many people think that dental sedation is only for adults. However, children are some of the best candidates for dental sedation. Many children suffer from dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, low pain tolerance, restlessness, difficulty holding their mouth open for long periods, or have special needs. 

Nitrous oxide is commonly used in children because it's mild and very safe with minimal side effects. Children are usually great candidates for minimal sedation while they may also be suitable for deeper sedation like general anesthesia if they require oral surgery. Invasive procedures can be scary and traumatizing for children so it’s often better if they are asleep.

Sedation Is Only for Painful or Complex Procedures

There is a misconception about dental sedation that has caused the public to believe that sedation is used primarily for oral surgery or other invasive procedures associated with a higher risk for pain and complications. However, this is not the case. 

Dental sedation can be used for any procedure, no matter how small and painless. Patients with dental anxiety can experience distress in anticipation of a routine dental cleaning. Administering a mild to moderate sedative helps them relax. 

While sedation is used frequently in complex procedures, the reason this is more commonly talked about is that many people receive routine dental treatments without sedation while an invasive procedure is usually going to be accompanied by sedation.

Anyone Can Be Sedated

Just as it’s not true that only adults can be sedated, it’s also untrue that anyone is a candidate for sedation. While most people who are in good health would be suitable candidates for sedation, we must review your medical history first. 

Patients with certain medical conditions, taking certain medications, who have respiratory difficulties, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies may be ruled out as candidates for sedation. These factors can increase the risk of complications under dental sedation. 

Nitrous Oxide Will Cause You to Laugh Uncontrollably

Nitrous oxide has earned the nickname ‘laughing gas’ because it tended to make people who take it feel giddy, euphoric, and potentially laugh. However, it affects everyone differently and plenty of patients do not experience fits of laughter. The reason it is called laughing gas is primarily because of the feelings of euphoria it induces.

There’s Only One Type of Sedation

General anesthesia is by far the most commonly spoken about sedative and this is because of its popular usage throughout the medical field such as in serious surgery. Anything that is invasive and carries a high risk for pain or discomfort is likely going to be performed under general anesthesia. 

However, 3 other types of sedatives are routinely used in the dental field at a much more common rate than general anesthesia. Those are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. 

These sedatives range from very mild with low safety risk to moderate sedation and moderate risk, up to a deep level of sedation with an increased risk of complications. Sedation is generally very safe when administered by a professional dentist, but the deeper the intensity of the sedative, the higher risk of incurring potential complications. These are, however, very rare.

Schedule Your Sedation Consultation Today!

Dental sedation can make seeking dental treatment a much smoother and stress-free experience for everyone involved. If you’re wondering if dental sedation could be a good choice for you, contact us at First Smiles Children's Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chris Ha.

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