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Understanding Dental Sedation – Oral, IV and Conscious


We've all heard about dental sedation. Including dental oral sedation, dental IV sedation and dental conscious sedation. But what do these terms really mean and when should you ask your dentist about them?

But first, you must remember not to confuse dental anesthesia and dental sedation. Anesthesia relates to a procedure or a substance that removes pain. But dental sedation is a way to relieve your stress or anxiety. Based on your level of those two feelings, your dentist will choose which level of dental sedation is appropriate for you.

Four Stages of Sedation

Dental sedation: Leveling out anxiety with dental conscious sedation

Light Sedation - The first level of dental sedation gives you the feeling of not having any worries. And when it's over, you may not recall the procedure at all. This is usually induced by nitrous oxide that you inhale and/or a pill that you take before the procedure.  

Medium Sedation --This is where the term "dental conscious sedation" comes in. Because at this level, you're conscious enough to respond to instructions from your dentist, but you feel floaty and out of it. And because this state can be induced with nitrous oxide (which you inhale) or intravenous drugs, it's also referred to as "IV dental sedation" or "dental IV sedation."

Deep Sedation - At the third level, you are between conscious and unconscious. You may be able to respond to commands or stimulation, but it comes and goes as you drift in and out of consciousness. This is achieved with IV dental sedation.

Total Sedation -- It really is total because you are unconscious. At this level, you're unaware of any part of the procedure and you're feeling no pain. This level is also achieved with IV dental sedation.

Rate Your Anxiety

Some patients have severe dental phobia in which just stepping into the dentist's office causes symptoms of panic and fear. Others experience milder symptoms. It's up to you to rate your anxiety and discuss it openly with your doctor so that he or she can recommend the appropriate level of dental sedation for you. And whether it should be dental oral sedation, dental IV sedation or dental conscious sedation.

Consider Your Health

Tens of millions of patient take advantage of dental sedation to safely reduce their stress and anxiety every year. But even so, taking any medications involves a certain amount of risk. That's why the American Dental Association urges you to take an active role in your oral health care. This includes knowing your health status and telling your dentist about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications (prescription or non-prescription), and whether you've ever had any problems such as allergic reactions to any medications. It also includes understanding the risks and benefits involved in dental treatments, so that you and your dentist can make the best decisions about the treatment that is right for you.

Quiz: Match the Term With Its Sedation Level

Now that you know the terms, here's how to match them with the sedation level.

Dental Oral Sedation - That's right, it's "Light" sedation.

IV Dental Sedation/Dental IV Sedation - It starts wth "Medium" sedation but can go all the way to "Total."

Dental Conscious Sedation - It's the "Medium" level, because you're still conscious enough to obey commands.

Finding a Sedation Dentist

If you believe that some level of dental sedation is right for you, then talk to your dentist before your next procedure. And ask about their training and background that makes them qualified to administer dental oral sedation, IV dental sedation or dental conscious sedation.

But if you need a sedation dentist call us at 1-866-970-0441 for a dentist near you.

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