By Dr. Stephen W. Durham
It is so important to be comfortable and confident about getting the care you need that sedation dentistry is getting more and more attention today. Sedation is a reasonable way to relieve anxiety and make it easier to get the dental health care you need. There are different kinds and levels of sedation to match each patient’s needs. So our first step is an attentive conversation, where we learn what our patient wants, needs and expects for comfort during treatment. We also identify health factors that affect what kinds of sedation the patient can have safely.
Different Degrees of Sedation
Techniques for providing a calm, relaxed experience to the patient can work on different levels, so there is no need to overdo sedation. Minimal, moderate or deep sedation can ensure that each patient gets what he or she needs.
With minimal techniques, the patient stays aware of what’s going on, and responsive to instructions from the dentist. Moderate or “twilight” sedation relieves anxiety while still allowing the patient to follow directions. With deep sedation a patient is fully “asleep,” and takes on no memory of the procedure.
Benefits Before and After
Just knowing that these options are available, for comfort and relaxation, means more people go forward with the dental help they need, rather than avoiding or postponing it. That may be one of the greatest results of sedation dentistry, and so the benefits start even before the dental appointment.
Since sedation dentistry enables many patients to complete their course of treatment in fewer visits, they can enjoy the results much sooner.
Excellent training and qualifications are something to look for when you consider sedation dentistry. One of the first signs of that is the care the dentist takes in how your options are presented.
A recipient of the 2012 Mastership Award from the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Stephen Durham, DMD, MAGD, is a graduate of Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine. He is a past recipient of the LVI Fellowship Award for Neuromuscular and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Durham practices at Durham Dental at Town Center in Beaufort. For more information, visit his website at www.DrStephenDurham.com or call 843-379-5400.