Sedation dentistry is a very popular service that many dental practices across the country are now offering alongside their regular appointments. The service refers to the use of sedative medication that is administered before and/or during a dental appointment with the goal of keeping the patient calm, comfortable and completely relaxed for the duration of their treatment.
Sedation dentistry comes in a variety of forms and depths depending on the needs of the individual patient and the type of procedure that they need to have performed. For example, a mildly anxious patient may only need light sedation to keep them calm while they have a cavity filled. However, a severely phobic patient or one with significant disabilities may be in need of much deeper sedation for the same treatment. Your dentist will be able to advise you which type of sedation is best for you based on your individual needs.
Am I a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?
It is estimated that as many as 75% of the U.S. adult population have some fear of the dentist, and of that percentage, as much as 10% of those people have a fear that is strong enough to be considered for sedation dentistry. It is these patients who are typically approved to undergo treatment.
Just because sedation dentistry may be available, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will be able to access this service. Your dental anesthetist will need to evaluate your suitability for the type of sedation that you need to ensure that you are healthy enough to tolerate the medication used and that it doesn’t represent any significant risk to your wellbeing.
Nevertheless, it isn’t only patients who are fearful of visiting the dentist who is generally considered good candidates for the service. It is also particularly helpful for patients who:
Have sore jaw muscles
Suffer from issues with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
Have a sensitive gag reflect
Suffer from back or neck pain
Can’t sit comfortably for long periods of time
Have difficulty numbing using local anesthetic
Sedation Dentistry for Patients With Disabilities
Many people think that sedation dentistry is only recommended for patients who have anxiety or phobia about visiting the dentist. Whilst it is certainly a very valuable service that enables them to access dental treatment, sedation dentistry can also be extremely beneficial for some patients with disabilities.
Disabilities come in many shapes and forms and can range from only having a very mild impact on a patient’s life, to being so severe that the patient requires 24/7 care. Some types of disability make it very difficult for patients to tolerate dental appointments and procedures. For example, if the patient has a physical or behavioral disability that means that they cannot:
Hold their mouth open for a prolonged period
One of the other main issues that patients with disabilities have is anxiety. Many are unable to understand what is happening and why it is necessary, and this can make the appointment extremely frightening for them. Sedation helps to keep them calm and their anxiety under control so that they can receive the treatment that they need without any unnecessary stress.
Some of the types of disability where patients may be considered good candidates for sedation dentistry include:
Autism and other autistic spectrum co-morbidities such as ADHD and sensory processing disorder
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
If you would like to find out more about sedation dentistry, including discovering if you are a suitable candidate for his service, please get in touch with our experienced dental team in Brooklyn NY.