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Brief History Of Dental Sedation

Feb 22, 2017
Brief History Of Dental Sedation
While going to the dentist is an important part of not only maintaining proper oral health but overall health as well, it can be the cause of severe anxiety for some individuals...

While going to the dentist is an important part of not only maintaining proper oral health but overall health as well, it can be the cause of severe anxiety for some individuals. Whether it is just something about sitting in the patient chair under the light or the feeling of the metal tools scraping on teeth, some individuals cannot stand the thought of sitting through a dental exam or cleaning. Some dental procedures require anesthesia like fillings and root canals, there has been an ever increasingly popular practice of dentistry that utilizes medication to help patients relax even for routine teeth cleanings.

Believe it or not but sedation dentistry has been around since the 1840s. In 1772, nitrous oxide was discovered by Joseph Priestly and was mainly used as a preservative and entertainment purposes. It was not until 1844 when a dentist from Hartford, Connecticut named Horace Wells, used nitrous oxide successfully for the extraction of his tooth. However, in his attempts to educate the public on the use of nitrous oxide, he had an unsuccessful demonstration at Massachusetts General Hospital when an inadequate amount of gas was inhaled and the patient screamed out in pain. Due to this mistake, nitrous oxide would remain out of the medical picture for another 20 years. In 1946, a dentist by the name of William T.G. Morton administered a sulfur-ether compound to a patient that was about to have oral surgery and this successful, painless surgery marked the beginning of dental anesthesia. Over the years, other gasses and chemical agents would be used to achieve insensible patients for surgeries.

Local anesthesia became the focus of development by the end of the 19th century. Cocaine was one of the first to be used by physicians but administering it was a dangerous operation. Deaths frequently occurred because dosages were poorly controlled, solutions were not sterile and cocaine was inherently toxic. By 1943, cinchocaine and lignocaine were introduced as safer alternatives to cocaine. Through the two world wars, the science and practice of anesthesiology developed very quickly. New drugs were developed and safety was demanded as deaths continued to occur through the development of modern anesthesia techniques.

Today, there are several types of sedation techniques that are used to help patients relax when going through dental procedures. The goal of dental sedation is to help make the patient more comfortable, both physically and mentally. There are four types of sedation that are used in dentistry today:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation- the patient breathes in the nitrous oxide that is combined with oxygen to achieve the desired level of relaxation. This type of sedation allows patients to drive themselves home after the procedure.
  • Oral sedation- depending on the dose administered, oral sedation can range from minimal to moderate. Typically, a drug from the Valium family is taken and will make the patient very relaxed and drowsy. This is the most common type of sedation for dentistry.
  • IV conscious sedation- administered through an IV, patients will be extremely relaxed and conscious enough to follow directions and answer questions throughout the procedure. Patients are not allowed to drive after this type.
  • General anesthesia (unconscious)- in rare, extreme circumstances when the other forms of sedation do not work, the patient may need general anesthesia if the procedure is short enough. An anesthesiologist administers this type of sedation.

At Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry, we provide our patients with the best sedation method for their needs. Reducing the fear and anxiety that some individuals experience while visiting the dentist is our number one concern. We strive to provide the most enjoyable experience possible with us. To learn more about the sedation methods that we use, visit https://www.gablessedationdentistry.com/sedation-dentistry-miami-fl/.