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:
- Excessive sweating
- Blurred speech
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- 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:
- Special needs
- 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
- 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.