Sedation Dentistry vs Standard Procedure? What you stand to Gain

A lot of people generally dislike the thought of having to go to the dentist. Many people end up trying to postpone or avoid dental care because of this anxiety, which often leads to serious oral health and other health consequences.

Dentists are beginning to realize that patients are postponing their dental care until they are forced to due to this fear and anxiety. Therefore more dentists are offering new options with dental care such as IV sedation dentistry, as well as other types of sedation techniques. These new methods have become quite popular as word spreads.


The question is: Is sedation dentistry meant for you?

Sedation dentistry uses certain medications to help patients stay relaxed and anxiety-free throughout their dental procedures. Furthermore, sedation helps prevent pain and reduces the ability to recall the procedure once completed.

However, it is a common misconception that IV dentistry is the same as general anesthesia. The two have some significant differences.

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Below we will take a closer look at both options, including the pros and cons, and look at when either one is an appropriate option.


Sedation Dentistry Explained

As the name suggests, IV sedation is when your dentist administers a sedative intravenously. This allows the sedative to take effect more quickly than any other method.

Intravenous sedation also allows the dentist to adjust the level of IV depending on the patient’s needs, reducing the risk of negative side effects or other medical complications.

Many patients remain in a semi-awake state and can communicate somewhat with the dentist. Nevertheless, they usually have little to no memory of the procedure once the sedative wears off.

IV sedation is often used for long treatments, such as oral surgery, implant placements or replacements, wisdom tooth extractions, and other high-stress procedures.

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A few benefits of IV sedation dentistry include:

  • Works Quickly
  • Works for Severe Anxiety
  • Patients are Still Conscious
  • Diminishes the Gag Reflex
  • Amnesia
  • Quick Recovery Times
  • Offers a Higher Level of Sedation


General Anesthesia Explained

General anesthesia employs a combination of intravenous sedatives and inhaled gasses to place patients completely unconscious. In this state, the patient is unable to feel pain or respond to their surroundings during the procedure.

Today, general anesthesia is not used often due to the risk of medium to serious complications.

Complications arise because general anesthesia depresses the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. For this reason, general anesthesia is not recommended for routine dental work. On top of this, preexisting health conditions can aggravate and increase the risk of complications.


Some of these preexisting conditions include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • History of bad reactions to anesthesia
  • Seizures
  • Drug allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
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When is General Anesthesia Required?

Though general anesthesia has gradually been replaced by IV sedation and other effective sedation methods, it can be useful under specific situations.


Some of these situations include:

  • If the patient has a high tolerance to medications used in IV sedation.
  • If the patient is extremely anxious or unable to cooperate under sedation.
  • When there is a need for traumatic dental procedures, such as removing wisdom teeth.
  • When other types of complex procedures are required.

For a large number of patients, IV sedation dentistry is a more preferred option when the time comes to undergo the common dental procedure. Nonetheless, sedation dentistry is not for everyone, so you should take the time to discuss this with your dentist beforehand.


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