If you have lost a tooth or teeth to trauma or any type of dental disease, you probably would like to have those missing teeth replaced. If you have one or a set of damaged teeth, it will be better if they are removed and replaced with more functional ones. Many people are dealing with these dental issues, and the good news is that there is a solution. With dental implants, you may be able to get new artificial teeth that look, feel, and function just the same as natural teeth.

However, the worry for many people is the procedure and whether it will be painful or uncomfortable. Some people are generally afraid of dental visits, and others would be terrified if they were to undergo an invasive dental procedure. For that reason, there are several sedation options offered for dental patients to make the procedures comfortable and bearable. Therefore, if you are considering getting dental implants, Northridge Dental Implant Center could be your best choice of a dental office. We not only provide quality dental implants but also offer both oral and IV sedation services to cater to your comfort.

Understanding Sedation Dentistry for Dental Implant Patients

Good oral health is a necessity for a happy, fulfilled life. However, not everyone gets to enjoy this. It is because there are several dental issues out there that threaten to take people's happiness away. Take, for example, tooth decay, an oral condition that will not only affect your teeth but the gums and your tooth roots as well. Some of these dental conditions affect the jawbone, leaving it weak and unable to support the remaining natural teeth. The good thing is that over the years, dentists have been working round the clock to get solutions for all dental conditions their patients encounter. 

Top in the list is the installation of dental implants to work as new dental roots. They can support artificial teeth for patients who have lost their natural teeth. This installation can either be a simple or complicated procedure, depending on the underlying dental issue. The good thing is that dental experts across the globe are usually committed to giving dental patients another chance to enjoy a pleasant look and feel despite the dental problem they have been experiencing. The most important thing to them is to make your every dental visit and procedure as comfortable as possible.

Dental implants are usually installed into the patient’s jawbone to replace natural tooth roots and also support the installation of artificial teeth. They provide stability and anchorage that false teeth need to function, feel, and look just like the natural teeth. However, for them to be securely installed into the mouth, there are several processes the patient must undergo. Most of these processes are invasive, and some can be painful. To make the entire experience comfortable for the patient, dentists have come up with ways to sedate the patient and numb away the pain. It also makes it easy for the patient to wait through hours of one dental procedure after another until the final installation is done.

Sedation dentistry is mainly for dental patients who have lost their teeth and would like them replaced. It is also for patients who would like their dental bridges replaced. Since both dental implants and bridges are placed into the patient's jaw, the process is quite invasive. Unfortunately, there is no other procedure out there that can give such patients a lasting and more permanent fix than what they get through dental implants. For that reason, dentists have come up with oral and intravenous sedation that allows dental patients who are afraid of such invasive procedures to go through them with minimal difficulties.

If, therefore, you have been involved in an accident that left your teeth injured, or you have suffered a periodontal disease that affected your natural teeth, you may be able to undergo a dental implant procedure with no worries at all. Your dentist will be able to offer you two dental sedation options, namely oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation. For a more informed choice, read through to understand what each of these dental sedation options is and what the best option for you would be.

Intravenous (IV) Sedation for Dental Implants

Despite the great benefit a patient with dental issues can gain from dental implants, the process is not always easy to go through. For that reason, some patients often feel apprehensive and anxious. Dental implant experts have to do their best to ensure that their patients are comfortable and are having a pleasant experience. That is why we have sedation dentistry in most dental offices, for patients who would like some extra comfort before receiving the treatment. If, therefore, you are feeling anxious about getting dental implants, it should not prevent you from getting back your healthy, beautiful smile.

IV or Intravenous Sedation is a type of dental sedation that requires the presence of an anesthesiologist. This type of sedation is usually administered in the presence and direction of a doctor. The patient has to remain under the doctor’s observation throughout the process. After its administration, a breathing tube is also placed to ensure that the patient is receiving enough amounts of oxygen. There are several risks associated with IV sedation, which is why a doctor must be present during its administration and in the course of the dental procedure. Close monitoring of the patient by the doctor ensures that any foreseen risk is minimized and that the dental procedure is carried out successfully to the end.

IV sedation is also the type of sedation that requires the patient to be accompanied by a person that will also help them get home safely after the dental process. For that reason, the patient is urged to make prior preparations before their appointment date. He/she will also need someone to help them around for a few days after the dental procedure. IV sedation is a more sophisticated type of dental sedation. Therefore it is essential to anticipate some downtime as it is the only way you can be well-prepared once the procedure is completed.

During the administration of IV sedation, the patient is usually not asleep. He/she should remain conscious throughout the sedation process. The doctor administering the sedation uses medication or drugs that will calm the patient, leaving them in a drowsy or sleep-like state. For that reason, the patients will remain conscious, able to breathe on their own, and also able to respond to questions. IV sedation leaves the patient in a deeply relaxed state, with the sensation of not being bothered or concerned with what is happening around them. It is, therefore, a valid form of sedation as it relieves the patient of any anxiety they might have before any major dental procedure.

Who Benefits From IV Sedation?

One of the things that your dentist will consider before starting the dental implant procedure is whether or not you require sedation and the best sedation method for you. IV sedation is not suitable for all dental patients. Some patients can go through various dental procedures without any issues at all. However, if you are one of those that are always filled with anxiety and fear, your dentist will prefer to begin the process when you are completely relaxed. Patients who cannot withstand any amount of pain, however minor it is or those that have a sensitive gag reflex, will also benefit significantly from IV sedation.

The second category of dental patients is those with special needs. A person that has a mental or physical disability requires extra comfort when undergoing extensive dental procedures such as the installation of dental implants. IV sedation allows such patients to feel safe so they can sit through and enjoy an effective dental treatment in the end. While under sedation, the patient can get a full dental exam, series of dental x-rays, thorough cleaning, and also installation of dental implants.

Benefits of IV Sedation

For patients who might prefer or are suitable for IV sedation, here are some of the benefits it might present:

  • IV sedation gives the patient a deeper level of sedation, which makes it unlikely for them to experience fear or feel anxious while the dentist works on their teeth. The doctor can keep the patient sedated throughout the procedure, minimizing chances for them to interrupt the dentist and delay the process. It works like magic for patients who experience high levels of anxiety during dental exams and procedures.
  • Anesthetists use sedatives that work fast for IV sedation patients. These sedatives are usually injected directly in their veins and are ready to take effect in just a few seconds. For that reason, there is no delay once you are sedated.
  • The dosages for these sedatives are usually adjustable, which is why a doctor is needed to keep watch on the patient throughout the dental procedure. If the patient feels a little frightened or anxious after the administration of the first dose, the doctor may increase the dosage to ensure that they are completely relaxed throughout the process. The dentist is free to adjust the level of sedation if the procedure is taking a longer time, to keep the patient relaxed until the end.
  • Lastly, the sedation has an amnestic effect on the patient, which is a temporary memory loss. It can work as an advantage for a patient who wants to forget all about the treatment, including what they saw and smelled in the dental office.

Disadvantages of IV Sedation

Even with its popularity, IV sedation comes with a few drawbacks that you should know before making a decision:

  • The anesthetist uses needles to administer IV sedation to the patient, which in itself is not a pleasant experience. Patients who are generally afraid of needles may not be able to go through with the sedation.
  • The temporary memory loss is also not a pleasant experience to undergo. Even though it will block out some bad experiences during the treatment, some good ones may be blocked out too.
  • Lastly, patients who undergo IV sedation need close monitoring and support after the dental procedure. This may come at an extra cost for the patient, especially those who have no one close to offer that support. The patient is also not able to get back to their daily routine immediately after the procedure.

Oral Sedation for Dental Implant Patients

Oral sedation for dental patients happens when sedative drugs are administered orally to the patient, to enable a dentist to perform a dental procedure. It is also an effective way to calm dental patients who are usually anxious or afraid of all kinds of dental procedures. It will also help the patient get through any pain they might experience during the dental procedure. Oral sedation is also conscious sedation, which means that it leaves the patient awake, though not aware of the happenings around them. It is also the most popular alternative to IV sedation in sedation dentistry.

Oral sedation is a type of dental sedation that is also referred to as pill sedation. It occurs when a dentist uses sedation in the form of a pill to calm his/her patients down during dental procedures. The sedation, however, is not taken just before the dental procedure. Patients are given the pill hours before their appointment to allow the pill time to take effect before the start of their dental procedure. Mostly, oral sedation is done by the use of Benzodiazepine, such as Halcion, valium, and Xanax.

The pill works by decreasing activity in the parts of the patient's brain, which control anxiety and fear. Once the medicine takes effect, the patient gets into a very relaxed state. In a calm mood, there will be minimal interruptions once the dentist starts working on their dental issues.

The amount of oral sedation used by the dentist is determined by the kind of effect he/she is seeking. A highly anxious or fearful patient may require moderate sedation while one who can remain calm to a certain extent can benefit from minimal sedation.

Since the pill is taken an hour before the dental procedure, you may be allowed to take it before coming in for your appointment. After an hour or so, you will start getting drowsy, by which time you must be in the dental office and ready for the procedure. Your dentist might give you a larger dose if the process is more invasive or painful to enable you to get through it. In your drowsy state, you will remain conscious but unaware of what is happening. However, a larger dose can make you fall asleep.

Advantages of Oral Sedation

There are several reasons why you might prefer oral sedation to IV sedation. Here are some of those reasons:

  • Oral sedation is very easy to administer when compared to IV sedation. There are no needles involved, and you do not need a professional to administer the sedative to your vein. It is the kind of sedation you can actually administer on yourself, and then have someone drive you to your dentist for a procedure. All you need is a prescription from your dentist to get the sedative, which you can swallow at home or on your way to the dental office. By the time you are arriving at the dental office, you will be calm, relaxed, and ready to have your dental implants installed.
  • For patients who are afraid of needles or such medical procedures, oral sedation will work very well for them. Most patients who get anxious or are fearful of specific dental procedures will be afraid to get an injection before the process starts. For that reason, they are less likely to go through with the procedure, however much they need it. If you are that type of patient, your dentist can suggest oral sedation instead.
  • The temporary amnesia experienced after taking a more potent dose of Benzodiazepines will help the patient recover well without remembering how it all went down. The idea is not just to numb away the pain and discomfort but also to help them deal with the experience of what happened to them. You do not have to live in fear since you will have zero recollection of what happened while you were sedated.
  • Oral sedation is safe, with zero side effects to most patients. It is also regulated by the FDA, which should give you confidence that you will not experience any dangerous side effects.
  • Even though oral sedation makes you drowsy, it leaves the patient conscious and responsive. It enables the dentist to give you some instructions during the dental procedure to speed up or make the process smoother. Again, it does not affect your breathing, and so, you will be able to get out of it as soon as the dentist is done.

Disadvantages of Oral Sedation

Even though it is safe, oral sedation has a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before making it your choice. These are:

  • The sedative will not be effective immediately after administration. It means that you could experience some delays if it were administered at the dentist's office. It is for this reason why patients are asked to take the sedative at least an hour before their appointment. If you are in a hurry to have a dental procedure done, you may be delayed by this fact.
  • Your dentist will not be able to control the level of sedation that you require for your procedure with oral sedation. It is because it takes time for the oral sedative to take effect, and so, it will take more time for it to work if he/she decides to increase your dosage. Again, since human beings metabolize oral medications differently, it will be even harder for your dentist to tell when the pill will start to take effect on you.
  • You will still not be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment. Even though oral sedation relaxes you, it may impair some of your senses, making it dangerous for you to operate a vehicle. You will still need someone to drive you to the dental office and back home after the procedure.

Choosing Between Oral and IV Sedation for Dental Patients

As mentioned above, sedation is not meant for all dental patients. There are those patients who are comfortable and able to remain calm and stay awake throughout a dental procedure. In that case, the first thing you should ask yourself before your appointment is whether or not you need a sedative. If yes, you should take the time to understand both sedation methods and make a suitable choice for yourself. To make an informed choice, you may consider the following:

  • How anxious or afraid you are to undergo a dental exam- Some people get incredibly anxious or even scared by just thinking of seeing a dentist. For these people, any type of dental procedure will be terrifying, however minor. If seeing your dentist makes you anxious, you may want to sedate yourself before your appointment time. In this case, oral sedation will work for you. However, if the only fear you have is about the drills, needles, and the smell of a dental office, you may be okay with IV sedation.
  • Your health history- Some health issues might make some type of sedation unwise. It is essential to discuss this with your dentist before your appointment to determine the way forward.

Find Intravenous and Oral Sedation Services Near Me

Sedation dentistry makes any invasive dental procedure bearable and productive. Therefore, if you feel that this is something that could benefit you, discuss it with your dentist for the best choice between IV and Oral Sedation. For more information regarding sedation dentistry, call us at 818-925-9181 if you are in Northridge, CA. Our motivation at Northridge Dental Implant Center is to make your experience smooth and enjoyable as we work on your dental issues to improve or restore your smile.