Sedation dentistry allows you to reach a state of advanced relaxation during your invisalign treatment or any other dental treatment, safely, and predictably. Either a pill is used (“oral sedation”) or medication is given intravenously. IV sedation takes effect faster and is the ultimate in predictability.
What does it feel like to be sedated for dental treatment? You are awake during sedation dentistry (this is why it is referred to as “conscious sedation”). The feeling is something like “watching a movie” of yourself, or “daydreaming” through the treatment; in other words, you feel removed from what is going on, while still aware when you need to be aware. You can respond to questions, groan at a terrible joke, or laugh at a good joke or funny comment.
What is taken away is the sense of fear and immediacy that so many people feel during dental treatment since the medication helps you feel relaxed and “removed” from the treatment. The sensation is similar to having nitrous oxide, but is much more profound–people love it! Sedation dentistry, performed under the supervision of specially-trained dentists, has an admirable safety record. While any treatment has potential risks and benefits, the risks of properly-administered sedation dentistry are quite low.
The fewer medications that are used, the safer the treatment tends to be (and the easier it is to track any potential problems). Our office features a “one medication” sedation program. For extra safety, a “reversing agent” is available that can counteract the sedating medication within a few minutes. What are the drugs used in sedation dentistry? We do not use narcotics. The drugs we use are benzodiazepines; they are relatives of valium that are much shorter-acting than valium (that is, they wear off much more quickly).
For oral sedation, we use triazolam, and for intravenous sedation we use midazolam. What will I feel like after my sedation visit? The aftereffects of sedation dentistry are surprisingly few. Some people feel tired after treatment. What most people report is little or no memory of the actual dental treatment after the treatment is over (this is especially true a few days later). For a dental phobic, this is an amazingly powerful positive experience. What sort of special training is required for a sedation dentistry permit? The American Dental Association requires the completion of a 60-hour course.
There are stringent requirements for course content, including practical experience sedating patients, as well as extensive “classroom” instruction. Most states follow the ADA’s 60-hour recommendation. However, Pennsylvania’s requirements are even more involved and require an additional 20 hours of training. Comparatively few general dentists have fulfilled these requirements, so relatively few dentists can provide conscious sedation at this time. Safety-monitoring equipment is extremely expensive.
Very few dentists are willing to invest the time and commitment to enable them to provide this service to their patients. Can I have sedation dentistry in your office if I have my own “regular dentist?” Of course, you can. Each dentist uses his own clinical judgment to determine what treatment you need and what is in your best interest. Dr. Waterston would be happy to provide you with a comprehensive examination to determine what treatment you need and if you are a candidate for sedation dentistry.