What is sedation dentistry? How to find best dentist in Kolkata?

For ages now, people shiver at the thought of having to visit a dentist; most of them prefer bearing the agonizing toothache rather than experiencing even worse pain while getting it treated from a dentist. However, the times have changed; today dentistry does not necessarily have to be painful. With the introduction of sedation dentistry, even the most painful dental procedures can be easily done. Sedation dentistry is helpful in all conditions to be it invasive procedures or simple ones such as tooth cleaning.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation Dentistry or also known as painless dentistry involves usage of dental anaesthetics such as local anaesthetic, a general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation to effectively calm the patient before beginning dental procedures. In most cases, patients are generally awake apart from cases where general anaesthesia is given to the patient. Painless dentistry is not only effective in reducing anxiety but it also aims to numb the particular area that needs to be treated. This allows the dentists to conduct the procedure smoothly, without causing pain to the patient. The duration of the procedure and the effect of anaesthetic correspond in length so that the patient experiences painless treatment.

Levels of Sedation

The various levels of sedation used in sedation dentistry include:

  • Minimal level: In this type, the patient is awake and relaxed, while the area concerned is numbed.
  • Moderate level: Also called conscious sedation, in this type the patient is awake though the sedation might cause slurring of speech and the patient might not remember most of the procedure
  • Deep level: In this type, the patient is almost unconscious but can be easily awakened
  • General Anesthesia: In this form, the patient is completely unconscious

Types of Sedation

Sedation dentistry involves the usage of the following types of sedation:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation: In this type, the patient is given nitrous oxide (laughing gas) combined with oxygen through a mask. This helps the patient to calm down while enabling the dentist to perform the procedure easily. The effect of sedation wear off quite soon and one can easily drive back themselves after the procedure.
  • Oral Sedation: Oral sedation can be given either in minimum or moderate form. In the former, the patient is given a pill, half an hour before the procedure, to make him/her drowsy though awake. In the case of moderate sedation, a higher dose is given. In some people, even the minimum sedation can cause them to fall asleep during the procedure.
  • IV Sedation: In this form, sedation is administered to the patient through a vein to allow for quick effect. 
  • Deep sedation and General Anesthesia: In this type, the patient is given sedation such to make him/her almost or completely unconscious. A person under the effect of general anaesthesia cannot be awakened until the effect of the anaesthesia wears off on its own.

In addition to the sedation, that patient is also given numbing medication at the concerned site to allow for painless dentistry.

Who is best suited for sedation dentistry?

Patients who have excessive fear or anxiety might be the ideal candidates for sedation. Though the type and level of sedation will vary per case on factors such as the type of procedure, the age of the patient, existing health conditions, etc.

Moreover, sedation dentistry is ideal for people who have the following conditions:

  • Low pain bearing capacity
  • Anxiety issues
  • Inability to sit calmly in the dentist’s chair
  • Extremely sensitive teeth
  • Bad gag reflex
  • Multiple dental procedures pending

In most cases involving children, sedation dentistry is used to make them calm and get them in control to enable the easy performance of a procedure.

How safe is sedation dentistry?

Generally, sedation dentistry is very safe and does not cause permanent or significant side effects. However, the intensity of side effects depends on the type and the level of sedation. 

Some common side effects of sedation dentistry include:

· Nausea

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivering
  • Hallucinations
  • Blurred speech
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Lockjaw – a temporary condition that reduces the jaw functioning due to trauma from surgery

It is advisable to consult and discuss with the dentist about the type of sedation required and disclose information such as below:

  • Pregnancy
  • Special needs
  • Allergies
  • Past reactions
  • Liver problem
  • Chronic kidney issues
  • Heart problems
  • Lung problems
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Other conditions such as hiatal hernia, acid reflux, infections, open sores, etc.

Moreover, people with the below problems are at more risk from dental anaesthesia or sedation.

  • Sleep apnea
  • Seizure disorders
  • Behavioural disorders
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Obesity
  • Drug use and abuse

How to find the best dentist in Kolkata?

If you are experiencing dental problems or need to get a regular dental check-up done, you must visit a good dentist in Kolkata. Some easy tricks on finding the best dentist in Kolkata are:

  • Know your problem and understand your symptoms
  • Make a list of dentists in Kolkata by searching online on platforms such as Google, Justdial and Practo. You can also take referrals from family and friends
  • Narrow your list based on factors such as practising hospital, speciality, years of experience, successful cases, referred cases, educational background, etc. You can know this from the hospital’s website.
  • Read about the hospital or the private clinic and check the credentials in terms of history, acknowledgements, recognitions, affiliations, healthcare facilities, medical technologies, the panel of doctors, assistive teams, patient cases, etc.
  • Check online reviews of the dentist and the hospital or the private practice; also check for licences and authentications, if possible
  • Call the shortlisted dentist and pre-book an appointment

You should definitely consider getting an advanced consultation from the experienced dentists at CMRI, Kolkata.

Painless Dentistry: Dental Treatment is now painless

Pain and Dentistry have a long association for years. Dental procedures such as complex root canal surgeries, tooth extraction, wisdom tooth problems, etc. involve a lot of pain for the patient and hence, were dreaded since years. However, with the advancement of medical technology, and the introduction of new techniques and equipment – painless dentistry has become a reality. In fact, if in this era, a dental procedure is causing a lot of pain, it is not being done in the right manner. It is because with the advent of new technologies, procedures, knowledge, etc. dental treatment has now become painless.

Painless Dentistry is also referred to as sedation dentistry and involves usage of dental anaesthetics such as local, sedation or general to effectively calm the patient before initiating an invasive, painful procedure. Painless dentistry is not only effective in reducing anxiety but it also aims to numb the particular area that needs to be treated. This allows the dentists to conduct the procedure smoothly, without causing pain to the patient. The duration of the procedure and the effect of anaesthetic correspond in length so that the patient experiences painless treatment.

Types of Dental Anaesthetics

Types of dental anaesthetics that are administered to patients in dental procedures can be of the following types:

Local Anaesthesia: Local anaesthesia is administered in patients for simple procedures such as cavity filling, cleaning, repairs, etc. The procedures take a relatively shorter time to complete and are less complicated. In local anaesthesia, the effect of the sedation is mild and the patient is awake during the procedure, as well as able to communicate. However, the patient does not feel any pain. Moreover, the patient remains calm throughout the procedure. Local anaesthesia takes effect within 10 minutes of being administered to the patient and lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. Local anaesthesia is available in forms of gel, ointment, cream, spray, patch, etc. and can be applied directly or injected into the target area.

Sedation: Sedation has several levels such as mild, moderate and deep, and is used to completely relax a patient who experiences anxiety, pain, or is restless during a procedure. Depending on the type of sedation, the patient can be fully conscious, semi-conscious and barely conscious.Sedation can be given through oral methods – tablet or liquid, inhaled or be given intramuscularly and intravenously. Sedation that is given through intravenous methods is riskier and requires careful monitoring. This is useful in slightly intense procedures such as braces, crowns, caps, root canals, bridges, etc.

General Anaesthesia: This is the most intense form of anaesthetics and is used for longer procedures to ensure there is no pain felt by the patient since the patient is completely unconscious. General anaesthesia is administered in cases of highly complex dental procedures such as gum surgery, complex bonding treatment, dentures, etc.General anaesthesia is administered through a face mask or intravenously. The level of general anaesthesia depends on the type of procedure and the condition of the patient.That said, the type of anaesthetics administered depends on factors such as the age of the patient, health or condition, length of the procedure, and any negative impacts of anaesthetics in the past.  

Side Effects of Painless Dentistry

On a general level, painless dentistry is very safe and does not cause permanent or significant side effects. Also, the type and intensity of side effects depend on the type and the level of sedation or anaesthesia. However, some of the general side effects of sedation and anaesthesia include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivering
  • Hallucinations
  • Blurred speech
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Lockjaw – a temporary condition that reduces the jaw functioning due to trauma from surgery

That said, it is critical to understand the type, level and need of anaesthesia or sedation required in each case. It is best to discuss all relevant details with the dentists before the procedure. Some cases that must be informed include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Special needs
  • Allergies
  • Past reactions
  • Liver problem
  • Chronic kidney issues
  • Heart problems
  • Lung problems
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Other conditions such as hiatal hernia, acid reflux, infections, open sores, etc.

Moreover, people with the below problems are at more risk from dental anaesthesia or sedation.

  • Sleep apnea
  • Seizure disorders
  • Behavioural disorders
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Obesity
  • Drug use and abuse

That said, risks and side effects are rarely observed in painless dentistry cases. Anaesthesia and sedation are highly safe and have helped millions of patients get dental treatment without experiencing any pain. Painless dentistry is safe and is very much a reality today. However, it is always advisable to consult your dentist and disclose all relevant information, before any dental procedure to ensure 100 per cent safety.

Reasons for Dental Problems One Must Avoid

Dental health or also known as oral health is an essential part of our overall well-being and needs the same amount of care as any other part of the body. In fact, dental health is a key indicator of one’s overall wellbeing and quality of life. However, oftentimes oral health is neglected until serious complications and issues start arising. Poor oral health can cause a lot of dental problems including:

  • Cavities
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum diseases (Periodontal)
  • Heart problems
  • Oral cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Mouth sores
  • Tooth erosion
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Toothaches
  • Stained teeth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Sensitivity to cold

Dental problems are non-communicable but have a tendency to last a lifetime if not cured on time. They can be extremely painful and cause discomfort, disfigurement and also death in rare, serious cases. Maintaining oral health is important and the sooner one realizes the value of dental health, the better care can be taken. As of today, awareness about dental health and problems is extremely poor and there is a dire need to understand the direct negative relationship of dental problems with overall health and wellbeing. Dental problems are bad but they can easily be prevented if proper precautions are taken and essential care is provided. A few methods including brushing twice a day, flossing every day, chewing properly, and getting routine dental checkups can prove very useful in maintenance of dental health and avoiding dental problems.

More so, it is also very critical to know the symptoms of dental problems, as well as the reasons and factors that cause dental problems so that proper medical care can be attained and effective precautions can be taken.

General symptoms of dental problems include

  • Long lasting ulcers and sores
  • Tender and painful mouth areas that are showing no healing signs
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot items
  • Absurd sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Toothache
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Loss of teeth
  • Decaying gums
  • Clicking of jaw
  • Pain in jaw
  • Swelling in the jaw bone, face or cheek
  • Dry mouth
  • Sour saliva

However, these symptoms are subjective and their intensity also varies per case. It is advisable to identify symptoms at early stage and seek a dentist’s consult. More so, if any of these symptoms are accompanied by high fever and swollen face or neck, emergency medical treatment should be taken.

Causes of dental problems

The mouth attracts and collects diverse bacteria, viruses, and fungi in different amounts. Some of these are normal inhabitants and make up for the essential mouth flora, while there are many which are present in negligible quantities and hence, are harmless. However, there are those that flourish in unreasonable quantities in the mouth leading to a host of dental problems. Food that is high in sugar that causes acid-causing bacteria to dissolve the tooth enamel and create cavities.

Further, every day activities of the mouth tend to accumulate a sticky material known as plaque near the gum line. This accumulated plaque later hardens and sinks in the tooth, causing gingivitis where the gums are inflated and cause pain and bleeding. Weakened gums lose the hold of teeth over a period of time, creating a gap which can potentially lead to build up of pus that is extremely problematic and painful. This condition is also referred to as periodontitis. Sometimes dental problems may be due to genetic problems or family history.

While there a host of dental problems and the varied causes, but all of those can be prevented provided reasons for the dental problems are known so that one can avoid them to ensure optimum oral health.

Reasons for dental problems one must avoid

  • Drinking soda
  • Bedtime snacking
  • Chewing on ice
  • Gummy candies
  • High-sugar foods and drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Constant snacking and binge eating
  • Caffeine
  • Excessive consumption of tea
  • Smoking and consumption of tobacco in any form
  • Alcohol
  • Poor brushing habits
  • Lack of flossing
  • Lack of dental checkups
  • Low fibre, high-fat and high-sugar diet

While all of these reasons contribute towards dental problems, the severity of each depends on person-to-person. Moreover, these reasons can worsen the effect on oral health if they are accompanied by other health problems such as diabetes, heart problems, etc. since oral health is directly related to one’s health. Bacteria from dental problems can spread to the bloodstream causing infections in the heart valves which can worsen the impact.  Thus, ensure to avoid these reasons for dental problems for healthy teeth.

In cases of where dental problems need medical attention, a visit to the dentist must not be delayed. A dentist may recommend professional cleaning, fluoride treatment, antibiotics, fillings, crown, sealants, root canal, etc. to treat dental problems. In serious cases, surgery may also be suggested such as flap surgery, bone grafting, soft tissue grafting, tooth extraction, and dental implants.

However, it is advisable to take precautions and follow attentive care methods to avoid all dental problems and ensure good oral health. That said, scheduled visits to the dentist and professional cleaning go a long way in keeping fine dental health.

Oral surgeon – 10 questions you must ask your oral surgeon during a consultation

An oral surgeon is a dental specialist trained to perform surgeries on the mouth, jaw and face. An oral surgeon is different from a dentist and is a more advanced specialist in oral surgeries than a dentist who can perform minor procedures. These specialists are also trained to administer anaesthesia to patients and provide care in a spate operating facility.

An oral surgeon can help patients with the following problems:

  • Dental implants used to replace the missing teeth by embedding them into the jawbone, like natural teeth
  • Developmental conditions such as treating cleft lip to improve functionality, speech and also physical appearance
  • Cancer such as oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer
  • Facial injury and trauma including fractures, facial lacerations, etc.
  • Skeletal and dental deformities such as misalignment of jaws and teeth
  • Functional problems in chewing, speaking and breathing
  • Facial pain caused due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

That said, an oral surgeon has expertise in the following procedures:

  • Tooth extractions: An oral surgeon can help in the extraction of a tooth in cases such as wisdom tooth, tooth decay, root fracture, prolonged primary teeth and removing crowding.
  • Cleft lip surgery: An oral surgeon can perform surgery to remove the cleft lip defect, enabling better feeding, drinking and speech.
  • Corrective jaw surgery: An oral surgeon can perform orthognathic surgery to remove traumatic dysfunction of the jaw, incorrect bite, difficulty in chewing, eating or taking any functioning from the mouth. It can also correct the displaced jaw.
  • Dental implants: An oral surgeon can put dental implants in place of missing teeth or provide stability to the new or existing denture. Cancer surgery: An oral surgeon can perform surgery to treat cancer of the head and neck including tongue, mouth, salivary glands, and throat.
  • Facial cosmetic surgery: Oral surgeon can treat functional and visual features of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws. 

Swelling and discomfort from the procedures eventually fade after 48 hours, though wisdom tooth extractions and other surgeries might take more than two weeks to properly healThat said, before scheduling a consultation with an oral surgeon, it is important to know your priorities and need. More so, consultation with the surgeon is important to know all details before the surgery. 

Remember these 10 questions that you must ask your oral surgeon during a consultation

  • What is the best solution to my problem? Any alternatives to the suggested procedure? 
  • What is the suggested procedure? What are the risks and complications?
  • What realistic results can I expect from the treatment?
  • What will be the total cost of the procedure and treatment?
  • What will be the surgery duration, recovery time? Will I need follow-ups?
  • What food and beverages to eat before and after the surgery?
  • What are the options for anaesthesia and what is the suggested type?
  • Any pre-operative precautions?
  • What are the post-operative instructions?
  • What realistic results can I expect?

Important things to remember before the surgery

Some things must be discussed with the doctor and completed before-in-hand of surgery to ensure optimal results and recovery. Some of these things include:

  • Wearing normal loose clothing with no jewellery or make-up
  • Quitting existing medications as suggested by the doctor 
  • Preparing the home for effective and easy recovery

Recovery Tips

Certain tips can effectively help reduce pain and manage symptoms post oral surgery. These tips include:

  • Keeping the head elevated for a few days
  • Avoid strenuous activity after the surgery until full recovery
  • Cold compress the swollen part
  • Post 24-hours of the surgery rinse your mouth with lukewarm saltwater
  • Brush and floss teeth regularly

That said, oral health is a very critical part of the overall health of the person. If you experience problematic symptoms, you must consult an oral surgeon and get examined. However, before agreeing to any course of treatment, remember to ask the 10 questions and analyse all options of treatment. 

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