There are two words that I think it’s safe to say no one wants to hear, root canal. Yes, this is one of the most dreaded procedures we would have to go to the dentist for. Dental anxiety is a natural emotion for many individuals and needing a root canal can be scary. The truth is…
Dental Sedation for the Geriatric Patient
There are dental practices that offer dental sedation for older patients. Even the elderly sometimes experience anxiety when they go to the dentist.
Sedation dentistry allows a dental practitioner to put phobic patients at ease while they sit in the dentist’s chair. This dental specialty can be challenging, especially when a patient has a medical condition that needs to be taken into consideration. Older patients often have unique needs, like strict medication regimens, and health conditions, like hypertension, dementia or diabetes.
Dental sedation for older patients
It takes a skilled and knowledgeable dentist to practice dental sedation on geriatric patients. Here is how they make sure that their older patients have safe and painless procedures:
1. The dentist will explore the patient's medical history
A large percentage of older people are on some kind of treatment plan for a health condition. Usually, that treatment plan involves one or more sets of medication. A dentist that is certified in dental sedation will take the time to collect all of the patient’s medical information. This will often involve communication with the patient’s doctor.
Based on the patient’s medical history and their doctor’s input, the dentist will be able to choose a method of sedation that works for the patient. They will choose drugs that will not interact with the person’s medication. They will also choose a level of dental sedation that is most safe for their patient.
2. The dentist will be conservative in their use of sedation
Dentists, like all medical professionals, always choose the most conservative course of treatment. When it comes to dental sedation, a dentist will try their best to use the lowest level of sedation they can.
If a dentist needs to fill a cavity on an older person with a moderate level of dental phobia, the dentist will only use nitrous oxide. In contrast, if a patient suffers from dementia, the dentist may choose oral or IV sedation.
How a dentist ultimately sedates their patient will depend on the patient’s physical and mental state.
3. The dentist will monitor the patient’s vitals all through the procedure
Once a person’s doctor green-lights dental sedation, the dentist will perform sedation dentistry, keeping a close eye on the patient’s vitals until the sedative wears off. This is a vital aspect of sedation dentistry, and it is a large part of a dentist’s training.
A dentist that is certified and has experience performing dental sedation will have the skill needed to keep the patient comfortable and safe during treatments.
Old age is no reason to stop seeing the dentist
No matter how old we get, we still need to get routine checkups. For the people who cannot stand the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice, dental sedation will make your dental visit easy and painless.
If you or a loved one has a phobia or a condition that can be mitigated with sedation dentistry, reach out to us and make an appointment. We will be happy to work with you and chart a way forward.
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