Most of us have something that we’re afraid of, or at least makes us a little bit anxious. Maybe it’s jumping off a diving board headfirst, public speaking, or maybe it’s snakes. Dental treatment ranks pretty high up there too. And even if you’re not “afraid” of your dentist, per se, as many as 1-in-3 people suffer from some type of dental anxiety or complete dental phobia. So, when it comes time to have their teeth worked on, one of the best ways to enjoy your trip to the dentist is to sleep through the appointment with the help of anesthesia or “deep sedation.”
But what if being asleep makes you nervous too? Fortunately, understanding how dental anesthesia and sedation works will help you feel more relaxed about your upcoming dental implant procedure. We’ve found that one of the best ways to get implants is to sleep through the appointment, and there are a variety of different types of dental sedation to make that possible.
Different Types of Sedation/Anesthesia in Dentistry
For most of us, we’ve been to our general dentist’s office where they had to numb our mouth for a basic filling. This type of medication is called local anesthesia, and it only numbs or deadens a specific part of our body, where those nerve endings are.
You’ve probably never been to a dentist and had them completely sedate you with general anesthesia for your entire mouth. But that’s what our DFW implant dentists do when you’re undergoing full mouth reconstruction. If you’ve never been fully “put under” for something like wisdom tooth extraction, you’ve probably encountered general anesthesia when it comes time for your over-age-45 colonoscopy. The sedation process for a routine colonoscopy is almost identical to what you’d experience here in a dental implant practice. So, if you haven’t already had a colonoscopy yet, once you do, you’ll be familiar with the sedation process enough that you can put your mind at ease.
In dentistry, we use various levels of anesthesia, ranging from mild to moderate to deep. We help you select the most appropriate level depending on the procedure that you need. For instance, if you’re only getting one or two implants, you probably only need moderate sedation. But if you’re getting full mouth dental implants, deep sedation is preferred.
What’s in Deep Sedation (IV Anesthesia)?
Deep dental sedation is delivered through an IV line. With IVs, we can tailor specific medications to the unique situation and patient. Each one that goes into it is carefully selected for improved patient comfort, safety, and recovery.
One of the first medications included in deep sedation is Versed. Versed helps you feel relaxed before the procedure starts. We help get you settled and you’ll generally feel at ease throughout your entire body. Since IV medications are delivered straight into your bloodstream, they’re fast-acting and extremely effective.
Next is the Propofol. Propofol is what actually causes you to feel like you’re falling asleep. Our anesthetist administers a specific dose based on your body size, weight, and any other medical factors. We always carefully screen each of our clients and review their medical history to ensure we’re only using safe medications for their sleep dentistry experience. The Propofol is essential because it helps you stay asleep throughout the entire procedure until we’re ready for you to wake up.
Once you’re asleep, we still use local anesthetic to numb the part of your mouth that we’re working on. Yes, you’re “out of it”, but we don’t want you to feel any level of discomfort. This step is not to be skipped!
We also use a slight cocktail of Fentanyl for generalized pain relief, and an antibiotic to help prevent any type of post-operative infection. And since some people are known to experience nausea after a sedation procedure, we’ll also use Zofran (an anti-nausea drug) to help you feel more comfortable as you’re waking up.
Last but not least, we might also use a steroid in your IV line. Steroids provide some anti-nausea relief, but they’re important because they also help to reduce the risk of swelling after your procedure. Swelling is one of the most common sources of discomfort, so the steroid jump-starts a gentler recovery. It’s important to note that you still need to use your ice packs as directed since the steroid will wear off by the end of the day. Keeping an ice pack against your mouth is the most effective way of reducing inflammation.
Why Choose Deep IV Sedation for Implant Treatment
With IV anesthesia you get all of the best benefits of dental sedation during lengthy treatment procedures. In turn, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable the next day than had you undergone your treatment without IV sedation. Since deep sedation makes you relaxed, you’ll be able to rest your teeth on the bite guard we’re using, instead of instinctively clenching or biting down on it (like you would if you weren’t sedated.) In turn, your jaw joints aren’t sore from being overworked. Your entire body and mouth are relaxed throughout the duration of your appointment.
How is Dental Anesthesia Different than Hospital Sedation?
Finally, one of the last questions we hear is, “How is deep sedation for dental treatment different than the sedation used in hospitals?” For instance, if you’re having heart surgery or brain surgery.
Sedation in a hospital setting usually involves being intubated with a tube down your throat to help you breathe. But in dentistry, we keep your airway open so that you can breathe naturally. Hospital sedation typically pumps a special gas through the intubation tube to keep you asleep. We don’t have to use that for dental implants.
The biggest difference between hospital and dental sedation is that hospital anesthesia usually has some type of a “paralyzing” drug in the IV, which prevents you from moving during your appointment (you obviously don’t want to move during heart or brain surgery!) But if you’re just getting a routine colonoscopy, the type of sedation they’re using will probably be almost identical to what we use during dental implant surgery. You don’t have to be completely immobilized, so the paralyzing agents aren’t used.
Feel Great About Your Experience
Now that you understand what’s involved with anesthesia for dental implants (and colonoscopies!) you can feel more confident about accessing the care you need. For a dental implant consultation, call ARCHPOINT today.