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The miracle that is sedation dentistry emerged upon the scene in the 1960s, with the first known drug to be used in the process being valium. The reason for using valium, of course, is the amnesic properties it is commonly known to have. The ability to forget your time in the dental chair is one that is looked upon with much hope, but at the same time, much skepticism. While the need for a way to qualm the fears millions of dental patients have of going under the dental drill, there was also a need to know that their dentist was trained in the art of oral sedation.
- The Rigorous Training of Dentists - Not only does a dentist need to attend a rigorous, multi-day seminar to become a DOCS (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation) certified dentist, but every time they come in contact with a client who could benefit from oral sedation dentistry they are required to follow rigid guidelines for the use of dental sedation. These training and guidelines assure dentist follow strict protocols, much like anesthesiologists follow in hospitals.
- Dentists are required to:
- Learn how to properly asses patients upon request of dental sedation
- Understand basic pharmacology (how to use and determine the effects of drugs)
- Fully understand the tenets of airway management
- Be prepared in any emergency situation
- This training and the guidelines associated are very strict, but your preferred dentist is always concerned about the well being of their patients, and are dedicated in making each visit as comfortable as possible.
The Thorough Screening Process - As stated previously, dentists are required to asses patients upon request of oral sedation dentistry. With over 10 million Americans avoiding dental visits due to anxiety, here are some ways dentists assess oral sedation candidates:
- Evaluating the full medical history of a candidate
- Determine the pain threshold of a patient (lower pain threshold clients are more likely to qualify)
- Ability to sit still in a dentist's chair
- The amount of dental work that needs to be done
- Gag reflex and sensitivity of teeth
The Different Levels of Sedation - The good news is that there are different levels of sedation for individuals who don't always like going completely under. These levels of sedation are:
- Minimal - awake, but completely relaxed.
- Moderate - most of the procedure will be a blur and some words may be slurred when speaking.
- Deep sedation - on the edge of consciousness, but still can be brought back to awake easily.
- General anesthesia - unconscious.
With a well qualified sedation dentist, and so many different types of sedation to choose from, those who previously suffered dental anxiety have very little to fear from hereon out.
Photo credited to: WorldDental.org