Even though dentists are a regular part of our lives, some people still assume that dentistry is just a one-size-fits-all model. However, there are more options out there besides regular dentistry. At Sedation Dental Center, we specialize in sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry. If you’re curious how sedation dentistry in San Diego works, this guide will be your introduction.
What Is Sedation Dentistry?
During sedation dentistry, patients can choose to undergo various levels of sedation to make their procedure more comfortable. Sedation dentistry is particularly useful for anyone who suffers from any level of dental anxiety, patients with special needs, or for patients who have difficulties remaining still throughout a procedure. Our team of professionals has extensive experience in how sedation dentistry in San Diego works and walk you through to keep you comfortable and safe from start to finish.
At Sedation Dental Center, our board-certified anesthesiologist will administer the appropriate type and dosage of medication depending on your needs. Our staff will work with you to determine what level of sedation you need. You may just need a light sedative to help you relax or something heavier to render you completely unconscious.
Sedation dentistry is also ideal for children. Children often have trouble sitting still or keeping their mouth open for the entire procedure, and other children are simply afraid of the dentist. Sedation dentistry will help your child stay calm and relaxed throughout the procedure. Our anesthesiologist will administer a safe, low dose of sedation based on your child’s height, weight, and medical history.
The Levels of Sedation
There are four levels of sedation available during sleep dentistry: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia. During minimal sedation, the patient remains awake but relaxed by the sedative, eliminating anxiety. During moderate sedation, the patient is still awake, but they won’t remember most of the procedure. During deep sedation, the patient is asleep but isn’t quite unconscious, and they won’t be awakened easily. During general anesthesia, the patient is completely unconscious and asleep for the entire procedure.
Types of Sedation
Knowing the levels of sedation is one thing, but in order to understand how sedation dentistry in San Diego works, it’s important to know what kind of sedatives are used. Depending on patient needs and the procedure being performed, we can offer different types of sedation, including inhaled sedation, oral sedation, IV sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia.
Inhaled sedation will produce the most mild sedative effect. Patients will inhale nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) combined with oxygen. This type of sedation leaves you fully relaxed but still conscious during the procedure. You can even drive yourself home afterward.
The next level of sedation is oral sedation where the patient takes a medication called Halcion one hour before the procedure. Your dentist will adjust the dose depending whether you need mild or moderate sedation. A lower, mild dose will make you drowsy but conscious and relaxed. A higher, moderate dose will put you to sleep, but the dentist can wake you with a light touch if necessary.
IV sedation also provides a moderate level of sedation. The medication is administered intravenously and so works much faster than oral sedation. Our dental anesthesiologist will adjust the dose based on your needs and specific medical history.
Deep sedation and general anesthesia are administered through an inhaled solution. With deep sedation, you will be asleep but not fully unconscious. Your anesthesiologist will adjust your dose to make sure you stay asleep for the entire procedure but can be awakened afterward. General anesthesia is similar to deep sedation except you are entirely unconscious rather than just asleep. You’ll wake up after the procedure once the anesthesia wears off. With both of these sedatives, you won’t remember anything from the procedure nor will you feel any pain during it.
Is Sedation Dentistry Safe?
Sedation dentistry is a relatively safe procedure, though there are some risks involved. If you are obese or have sleep apnea, you should consult with your doctor to ensure that you’re a good candidate. When you come in for your appointment, our team will discuss your medical history with you, including any medications you’re currently taking and any relevant labs, tests, or EKGs. If you have any concerns about the procedure or sedation, our anesthesiologist will be happy to answer any questions.
An important factor to consider when choosing a sedation dentist is experience. Luckily, our team at Sedation Dental Center brings years of expertise. Most sedation dentists only undergo two weeks of training for IV sedation, treating only 20 patients during that time. Dr. DeLisle has experience far beyond that of a typical sedation dentist that will help ensure that all of your procedures go safely and smoothly.
Dr. DeLisle is board certified by the American Board of Dental Anesthesiology and holds a certification in Advanced Life Support. During his anesthesiology residency at Loma Linda University, he treated over 2,000 special needs and pediatrics patients under general anesthesia. He completed rotations in internal medicine and cardiology while treating thousands of patients with anesthetics in the operating room.
After you undergo a sedation dentistry procedure, our staff will transport you to a recovery room where they will monitor your vitals. Once you’re stable and alert, you can be discharged to go home. Monitoring doesn’t end there — Dr. DeLisle and our staff will answer any questions you may have at any time of the day.
At Sedation Dental Center, our team of experts has years of experience in administering safe and effective sleep dentistry to our patients. Now that you know how sedation dentistry in San Diego works, call us to set up your appointment today.