Risks With Dental Sedation | Dental Treatment Guide

Dental sedation is effective because it depresses some of the senses which pick up pain or discomfort in our bodies. However, this can lead to risks as other functions in your body can be depressed as well. This can include a depression of reflexes which your body uses to alert yourself or others to pain, a depression of your respiratory functions or a depression of your cardiovascular system.

Possible risks which you should consider if you are having dental sedation include:

  • Respiratory depression or hypoventilation. This is essentially when the body does not receive enough oxygen.
  • Nausea (feeling unwell or as though you might be sick).
  • Hypoxia, which is the medical term for there being not enough oxygen reaching the blood or bodily tissues.
  • Hyperactivity (inability to pay attention).
  • Unintentional loss of consciousness.

There are also many risks associated with over-sedation, which is essentially a form of drug overdose. For this reason, some dental practitioners do prefer to use general anaesthetic with very young children who require sedation. Over-sedation can also be psychologically traumatic as well as causing some health complications.

You should always discuss the possible risks, side-effects and complications of dental sedation with your medical practitioner if you have doubts or are worried about them. They will be able to inform you of what the specific risks are with your circumstances and reassure you. They may also suggest alternatives to dental sedation if they feel that you are especially at risk or if you are unwilling to undergo sedation due to your concerns.

You should also consider that some risks are more common than others. Some complications may occur in only very rare cases, and others may be relatively common in comparison. Generally with practised medical procedures such as dental sedation, the more severe risks are far less common than those which will have less of an effect. Nausea or light-headedness after dental sedation may be far more common and yet have less of an effect on your health than potential complications which might have a far more severe impact.

Before making a decision about whether or not to have dental sedation you should decide whether the potential risks are outweighed by the benefits of having sedation. If you would be unable to undergo necessary dental procedures without being sedated, and you believe that without having these dental procedures your health would deteriorate, then the possibility that there might be complications could be outweighed by other possible health problems.

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