About Sleep Dentistry

WHAT IS SEDATION DENTISTRY?

You may have heard this treatment described in many ways: ANXIETY-FREE DENTISTRY, or RELAXATION DENTISTRY, especially in states where conscious sedation dentistry is regulated. Also used are terms like moderate sedation, ORAL COSCIOUS SEDATION or even SLEEP DENTISTRY though this last should be applied only to general anesthesia . The best and most accurate name is SEDATION DENTISTRY.

Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for people receiving dental treatment. It enables individuals too afraid to go to the dentist to receive the dental care they need while avoiding DENTAL PHOBIA.

According to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS Education), a professional dental organization dedicated to ensuring that patients receive safe, comfortable and anxiety-free dental care, 30 percent of the population avoids the dentist due to fear. This “dental phobia” prevents people from receiving necessary routine dental care, therefore compromising the health and functionality of their mouth and smile.

Sedation dentistry is commonly known by the general population as sleep dentistry, but in actual fact, you do not sleep during the procedure, but because of the effects produced by the sedative, you may feel sleepy. In fact, most people who have sedation actually do not remember very much about the procedure at all, due to the amnesic effect of the sedation, which is why they think they were sleeping through the entire procedure, which they in fact do not.

Sedation dentistry enables you to be kept awake throughout the entire procedure, but you willfeel relaxed and likely won’t remember much about your treatment.

What Is Sedation?

Sedation is a process used to establish a relaxed, easy and calm state through the use of sedatives. Sedative drugs (tranquillizers, depressants, anti-anxiety medications, nitrous oxide, etc.) can be administered in a variety of ways. In the past, intravenous (IV) sedation – sedatives delivered via injection into the blood vessels of the hand or arm – was predominantly used to sedate a dental patient.

IV SEDATION is both safe and effective when administered by a trained professional. Today, however, sedation dentistry has evolved to be even more conducive to a relaxing experience. Patients have alternatives to the traditional modalities of inhalation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) and IVs, such as those offering a "no needle” (meaning, no injection) approach that many people find more appealing.

ORAL SEDATION DENTISTRY is now the most common technique used in the United States and Canada to quell patient fears. The technique is easy and requires no needles. Best of all, the medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit; it is as if they slept through the treatment. In reality, oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation. Note that sedation is different from anesthetic injections. Although some forms of sedation (such as nitrous oxide gas) may raise your threshold for pain, most dental treatments still require a local anesthetic injected in the mouth, even when sedation dentistry techniques are performed.

Local anesthetic temporarily blocks pain impulses from the affected teeth and gum tissue. However, this injection occurs after you are already sedated and comfortable, so most likely you won't be bothered by or remember the sensation of having an injection.

Regardless of the type of sedation dentistry you receive, it is important to have a responsible caregiver accompany you to the procedure (and drive you there if you must take oral medication before arriving for your appointment). The caregiver should drive you home after the procedure is complete and stay with you for an additional two to four hours at home.


Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

  1. Decreased perception of time.

One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that people often feel like their dental procedure lasts only a few minutes, when in fact it might have taken hours to perform. Therefore, complex dental procedures such as smile makeovers or extensive rebuilding procedures that normally require multiple visits can often be performed in fewer appointments.

  1. Decreased awareness of your surroundings and dental procedures.

If you are hesitant to change the appearance of your smile because you are afraid or anxious about long or complicated dental treatment, sedation dentistry can make you feel comfortable during the treatment process and help you achieve a smile you can be proud of.

  1. Decreased anxiety and fear, increased relaxation.

Also, because sedation dentistry addresses some of the fears that keep people from going to the dentist on a regular basis, sedation dentistry patients are more likely to receive recommended routine care. As a result, they are less likely to neglect their oral health or allow oral health problems to build to the point when drastic dental treatments become necessary.


WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM SEDATION DENTISTRY?

Sleep Dentistry is beneficial for people who:

Are fearful or anxious about any aspect of dentistry:

needles in the mouth
low pain threshold
Have difficulty getting numb
the noises, smells, tastes and pain of dental treatment
Have had traumatic experiences with dentistry in the past
Have a strong gag reflex and gag easily
Have very sensitive teeth or gums
Are embarrassed about their teeth
Have jaw problems or have difficulty keeping their mouth open

Or that they simply :

Have complex dental problems or need long sessions or surgery
Are busy and wish to have more work done in fewer sessions
Find dental treatment tedious, uncomfortable or boring

 

 

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