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Sedation and Dental Phobia

Many people feel very apprehensive about dental treatment often caused by having a bad experience in the past. We understand these fears and know that the thought of surgery can be daunting if you have not had anything similar done before. However it is often the case that with careful treatment planning and discussion, implant dentistry can be much less traumatic that root canal treatment or having crown bridges made.

As a team we take utmost care to ensure that your experience at the practice is as comfortable as possible. Our dentists will talk to you throughout your treatment explaining as much or as little as you wish. Many patients have commented that they found this to be extremely calming and reassuring.

Most of our patients are happy to be treated under a dental anesthetic however for more nervous patients or for larger cases, we are happy to offer sedation which leaves you totally unaware of the treatment being carried out and will therefore make your experience far more relaxed.

About Conscious Sedation

Conscious sedation is a form of anxiety control which makes treatment more pleasant for the patient. It is effective, predictable and very safe.

Conscious sedation is the modern alternative to general anesthesia for most dental procedures.

Conscious sedation can be given in a number of ways. Intravenous sedation is the most commonly used form in adults. Your dental surgeon will advise you if any other techniques are appropriate.

Conscious sedation will make you feel sleepy and relaxed. Most patients can remember little or nothing of the procedure, but it does not affect any part of your memory before the drug is given.

Following your sedation, you will need to stay at the practice until the dental team is satisfied that you are safe to be accompanied home by a responsible adult. This is because your judgement may be affected for the next 24 hours.

As the drowsiness wears off, you may notice that your mouth is numb. Please be careful not to burn or bite yourself until the numbness wears off which may last a few hours.

Conscious sedation is a very powerful and safe way of reducing anxiety to allow dental treatment to be carried out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will sedate me?

You will be sedated by a dentist specially trained in conscious sedation. The dentist will be assisted by a dental nurse who has also received specific training.

What are the benefits – why should I have intravenous sedation?

Sedation by injection will help you cope with dental treatment and reduce your anxiety. Even people who do not feel anxious about dental treatment choose to have sedation for uncomfortable procedures such as extractions.

What are the risks?

Intravenous sedation can slow down your breathing. We overcome this by monitoring you closely and giving you oxygen (through a mask) if needed. Another possible complication is bruising to your hand or arm after the injection.

How long will I be drowsy?

Usually drowsiness lasts no more than 8 hours. Some people sleep heavily following sedation. Very occasionally some patients feel drowsy the following day.

What happens during the sedation?

The dentist will explain the treatment planned and check that you know what will be done. The dental nurse will take your blood pressure. You will be asked to lie back in the dental chair and have a small, plastic tube (cannula) placed in your arm or hand. The dentist will then give the sedation slowly through this tube and encourage you to relax. The dental team will monitor your breathing throughout the treatment.

Will I feel any pain?

Your dentist will also use local anaesthesia to numb the area where you will be having treatment. You might feel a slight stinging sensation while having the local anaesthetic but then the area should feel numb. We will do our best to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible during the procedure. Please let us know if you feel any discomfort.

What happens after the procedure?

At the end of the treatment we will take you to the recovery area where your escort will be waiting. You will still feel sleepy and many people are clumsy and forgetful. For these reasons you will not be able to leave until you have been checked by the dentist or dental nurse. Most people spend about 30 minutes in the practice. The plastic tube will remain in your hand until you are fit to leave.

Are there any alternatives?

The alternatives to this type of sedation are inhalational sedation, local anaesthesia and general anaesthesia.

Treatment under local anaesthesia will involve an injection into the gum so that there is no pain but you will be aware of the dental experience. General anaesthesia is reserved for people who are unable to cope with treatment under sedation due to disability or who need a great deal of treatment and is only available in some hospitals.

 
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