Sedation Dentistry – what side effects to consider?

oral sedation advantages and disadvantages

Visiting the dentist is an extremely vital aspect of dental hygiene and overall health. In fact, oral health is an essential indicator of the body’s well-being. Bleeding gums or bad breath can indicate a lack of vitamins and a variety of other diseases, which we’ve covered in one of our previous articles. Therefore, scheduling regular check-up appointments with your dentist is crucial as it can tell you a lot about your body’s health.

How dental treatment standards have improved

The tools and techniques used by dentists to treat oral diseases have greatly improved and modernized over the years. One such technique that many dentists are currently undergoing training for is oral sedation dentistry training.

Oral sedation can help dentists not only improve their reputation within the community but also help them with offering better dental treatments to their patients. Providing oral sedation can help reduce or remove any pain the patient might experience. This can help make the procedure run smoothly and reduce any discomfort or fear, which is still very common.
This is also true in the case of children and the sedation also helps to make the dental procedure safer.

While there are numerous benefits to oral sedation, there are also certain side effects that may occur and should be considered. These, however, are generally temporary and do not adversely affect the patient.

Possible side effects of oral sedationOral sedation side effects

Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Commonly called laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a common sedative that can leave the patient feeling giggly. This is one of the most common forms of oral sedation as it is easy to administer and does not usually cause negative side effects, apart from the giggles. However, in some cases, nausea, fainting, sleepiness, headaches, and vomiting can occur as side effects of this sedation. This generally takes place when the patient is given a dosage that is too high for them. Thus, dentists must take care to note a patient’s body weight, height, etc. before administering a dose.

Oral Sedation
Oral sedation or oral conscious sedation takes place by giving the patient oral medication before the procedure. This is generally in the form of a pill that the patient must take the night before as well as a couple of hours before the procedure. This is a good method to opt for in the case of patients who are extremely nervous about the dental treatment. It is vital to keep patients calm during the process to minimize the possibility of injuries occurring.

However, this method also produces some strong side effects such as:

  • The procedure usually leaves patients groggy. Meaning that they will not be able to drive themselves back post-procedure. Thus, having a family member or friend is imperative in such situations.
  • Forgetting the entire procedure is another common side effect. Patients can even easily forget instructions given to them by the dentist. Therefore, the patient should bring a relative or a friend with them.
  • Patients may experience drowsiness, headaches, vomiting, nausea and dizziness post-procedure.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation                                                                                                                             IV sedation or twilight sedation involves inserting medication through the veins of a patient. In cases where patients have extreme phobias or anxieties about dental procedures, IV sedation can help them to remain calm. The method is also useful when performing a more intense surgery or treatment, in order to minimize the patient’s discomfort.

Some of the common side effects include:

  • There may be slight bruising and swelling where the injection was administered.
  • Grogginess and disorientation (like with oral sedation) that may prevent patients from remembering the procedure or the instructions given by the dentist. Again, it is necessary to have a loved one present in this case.
  • Falling asleep and fatigue during the treatment is also common.
  • Drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, vomiting, nausea and dizziness may also occur post procedure.

General Anesthesia or Sleep Dentistry
For this method, the dentist gives patients general anesthesia in order to get them to fall completely asleep. Like with IV sedation, this method also involves administering the medicine intravenously and it is a good procedure to follow in cases where patients have extreme phobia or anxiety or where extremely invasive dental treatments occur. Here again, doctors must be careful while measuring the dosage before administering it to the patient.

Side effects include:

  • There may be slight bruising and swelling where the injection was administered.
  • There will be no memory of the procedure as the patient will most likely be asleep while it takes place.
  • A family member will have to drive the patient after the procedure and note down the instructions of the dentist carefully.
  • Patients may experience fatigue, dizziness, and dry mouth after the procedure.

Why go for oral sedation during dental treatments

Keeping the patient’s mental and physical state in mind, oral sedation is in some cases beneficial to many dental patients. While the side effects may cause a patient some discomfort, it still helps the dentist complete the procedure in a manner that is safe and more comfortable.

Regular check-ups and appointments can also help reduce the amount of anxiety a patient may feel oral sedation for comfortable dental treatmentwhile visiting the dentist. By keeping up to date with appointments, the dentist can identify dental issues at the early stages. The benefit of this is that the dental problem may still be easy to fix at that stage. A healthy mouth is aesthetically as well as medically beneficial for the overall health and should, therefore, be monitored regularly by a dental professional.

Modern dentistry is pain-free. We try our best to help you have a comfortable treatment and avoid treatment under sedation. We proud ourself of our gentle approach which helped many clients who originally requested dental care under sedation to have treatments completely normal, without any sedation.  Every patient should make that decision but seek your dentist’s advice beforehand by consulting them prior to any dental procedure about the necessity first. We may be able to help you to avoid this.




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