Sedation dentistry is offered by many dental professionals to help make dental procedures more tolerable for patients. Sedation may be used for complex, lengthy procedures to help anxious patients feel more relaxed. It can be especially helpful for senior citizens who may find it uncomfortable to be in the dental chair.
It is often asked whether or not sedation dentistry is safe for senior citizens. Here’s what you need to know about sedation dentistry for older adults.
What is Sedation Dentistry?
Sedation dentistry refers to medically induced relaxation techniques used during dental procedures. These may be administered in a variety of ways, but they provide a calm and comfortable experience.
Types of Sedation Used in Dentistry
The most common types of sedation used in dentistry include:
- Nitrous oxide. Commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is administered through a mask placed over the nose. As the patient breathes the nitrous oxide it provides a calm, relaxed feeling. Nitrous oxide takes effect quickly and wears off quickly, making it one of the safest forms of sedation.
- Conscious oral sedation. An oral sedative can be taken before a dental procedure to help the patient feel more relaxed. They will be awake but may feel groggy or sleepy.
- IV sedation. Administered intravenously, this sedation option provides a deeper level of sedation that makes the patient unaware of their surroundings, although they are technically conscious and responsive.
Which Types of Sedation Are Safe for Senior Citizens?
Any of the above types of sedation may be safe for senior citizens, but it always depends on the individual and their current state of health. For older patients it is wise and sometimes necessary to get approval from their primary care physician before undergoing sedation of any kind.
In What Situations Might Sedation Be Unsafe?
For some senior citizens with certain health conditions, sedation dentistry may not be safe. Someone with respiratory issues, such as those that require constant oxygen administration, may not be good candidates for nitrous oxide sedation. Patients with cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s may become disoriented or agitated when coming out of sedation.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
There are many benefits that come from sedation dentistry, especially for older adults:
- Reduces stress. Sedation can help make the process of getting a dental procedure less stressful for senior citizens.
- Improves dental health. Sedation might make it possible for a patient to get much needed dental care they have been avoiding due to anxiety or fear.
- Manages dental anxiety. Sedation dentistry can help patients cope with dental anxiety on a one time basis, and reduce anxiety toward future dental procedures.
- Helps time pass more quickly. While under sedation the patient will be less aware of their surroundings, which can make it seem as if time is passing more quickly. This is helpful for anyone who doesn’t want to spend much time in the dental chair.
Holzinger Periodontics & Dental Implants Provides Sedation
If you or a loved one are in need of periodontal treatment with the help of sedation, Holzinger Periodontics & Dental Implants can help. We offer a variety of sedation options to meet the needs of senior citizens. We carefully review each patient’s medical history, current medications, and risk factors to help determine if sedation is a safe option and which type would be best for their health and needs.
To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment.