When scheduled for oral surgery, many people experience oral phobia that denies them relaxation during the operation. If you’re such a patient, consider undergoing sedated dentistry. It involves the administration of sedatives and pain relievers, which puts you in a peaceful sleep as the oral surgeon works on your teeth.
Despite being commonly referred to as sleep dentistry, not all patients fall asleep as most of them remain awake but feel sleepy. There are different sedation methods, and the method used depends on your personal preference and your oral surgeon’s recommendations based on your overall health and the type of surgery that is to be performed.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
In most cases, dentists use nitrous gas, also known as laughing gas, which is administered by placing a gas mask over the nose and you inhale. After administration, it can take anything from a few seconds to a minute for the effects to kick in.
After administration, you should also start feeling cheek and gum numbness as the sedative starts working. There are different types of dental sedatives which are used depending on the level of your dental phobia. These include;
- Deep sedation – this type of sedation puts the patient in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness. The sedation is most preferred if you experience high levels of anxiety during oral surgery. When in this state, you can’t respond to any commands and may require breathing assistance.
- Conscious sedation – this is the most commonly used type of dental sedation. It allows you to remain alert and able to respond to commands, although you feel fully relaxed. Despite being fully conscious, you will not remember most of what happened during the procedure.
- Unconsciousness – unconsciousness is occasionally required during oral surgery. This type of sedation is combined with anesthesia, which increases the overall risks.
Advantages of Sedated Dentistry
While each type of sedation has its benefits, sedation as a whole has several benefits during dental surgery. These include;
Helps in Relieving Anxiety
One of the primary reasons why we use sedation is to relieve anxiety to patients who have serious dental phobia. Putting them under sedation allows them to undergo wisdom teeth removal or any other dental procedure peacefully.
Anxiety levels manifest differently depending on the patient. Some are nervous of the pre-procedure while others overwhelmed by thoughts that the procedure might go wrong or that the pain will be excruciating. These types of fear make most people fear to undergo the necessary dental care, but sedation removes all these reasons.
Reduces the Gag Reflex
While the gag reflex is useful in expelling any foreign object in the throat, it acts as a hindrance to a successful dental procedure. If you are aware of everything happening to you when undergoing dental surgery, then you’ll interfere with the operation. The gag reflex interference is worse if the dentist requires going deeper into the cavity.
Sedating you paralyzes the gag reflex and, hence, eliminating any damage that may occur as you spasm during the surgery. As a result, the procedure happens faster and efficiently while ensuring that your comfort throughout the operation.
Many people who have dental phobia do so due to an unpleasant childhood experience with a dentist. As time passes by, this fear grows, making it hard for them to imagine visiting a dentist let alone undergoing oral surgery.
Since sedated dentistry makes the mind oblivious to the procedure, there’s no additional dental phobia build-up. Eventually, the fear may fade away as you go for dental check-ups regularly.
Helps Relieve the Pain
Tooth or gum pain is often excruciating, and many people fail to visit the dentist in fear of experience the pain of teeth removal. However, the sedatives used in sedated dentistry influences your brain in such a way that it cannot register the pain. The ability to provide pain-free dental care has resulted in an increase in the popularity of sedation during dental surgeries.
Important Consideration before Oral Surgery
Undergoing sedated dentistry is likely to cause nervousness and anticipation, just like any other surgery. To ensure that the procedure goes smoothly, it’s essential to be well prepared before the surgery. Here are some tips that can make sure you’re substantially prepared for your upcoming surgery.
Consult About Surgery in Detail
Make your meeting with your oral surgeon worthwhile by asking any questions you may have about the procedure. During consultation talk about;
- Your oral phobia
- Any medical complications you may have
- Any medications you are taking
- The safety of the type of anesthesia to be used
Most people listen to the surgeon going about the procedure and what to expect but fear asking any questions. Remember that no question is too silly or uncomfortable for your dentist since most likely he has heard it from other patients. Additionally, your board certified oral surgeon has been through many of these surgeries and can give you peace of mind by explaining every step of the procedure for you.
Organize for Your Transportation and Post-Surgery Care
Never underestimate the impact of oral surgery, no matter how small it may be. Plan to have a close friend or family member accompany you to the dentist and drive you back home after the surgery. It’s possible to ignore the effects of local anesthesia, but it can impair your reflexes, making it dangerous for you to drive.
If you stay alone and undergo a more complicated dental surgery, have someone to check on you regularly or stay with you. If you have kids or pets, ensure you have someone to take care of them after you’ve undergone sedated dentistry.
Ask for the Pre-Operative Guidelines
Just like in other types of surgeries, it’s important to know the required pre-operative guidelines for sedated dentistry. In most cases, it’s prohibited to eat or drink anything 8-12 hours prior the procedure. However, if you’ll undergo local anesthesia, you may or may not be advised to eat a light meal two hours before the surgery. However, you should brush and floss thoroughly after the meal.
Dress for the Surgery
When preparing to go for sedated dentistry or any dental operation, make sure you dress for the procedure. You need to wear short-sleeved and loose-fitting clothing since they’re more comfortable and convenient if you’ll require an IV drip. Some important dressing considerations include;
- Avoid wearing jewelry
- Do not wear your contact lenses because the sedation will make you close your eyes for extended hours
- Avoid wearing makeup, especially lip balm
- Avoid wearing perfume, body sprays, and colognes
- If you have long and voluminous hair, tie it back
Pre-Plan Your Post-Operative Diet
After the sedated dentistry surgery, you should eat something soft that requires little to no chewing. Avoid including spicy foods when pre-planning your post-operative meals, because they may irritate your gums. Choose a nutritious diet such as oatmeal or meal replacement shakes with added vitamins and minerals during your early recovery days.
Choose Your Oral Surgeon Well
Whether undergoing an oral implants procedure, wisdom teeth removal, or any other type of oral surgery, it’s important to work with a qualified oral surgeon like Dr. Christopher T. Johnson. Sedated dentistry is a breeze for an oral surgeon with as much education and experience as Dr. Johnson. He is a graduate of the University of Florida’s dental program and has completed many successful internships and residencies. Dr. Johnson and Lake County Oral Surgery have been shaping the smiles of Clermont area residents for over 10 years. Contact us to book your appointment today at our Clermont or Leesburg Offices!