If you are one of the many people who have a fear of visiting the dentist, sleep dentistry could be the solution for you.
What Is Sleep Dentistry?
Also known as dental sedation, sleep dentistry uses sedation to reduce your sense of awareness or consciousness while you are undergoing dental treatments. A reduced state of consciousness allows you to remain relaxed and free from stress, anxiety or fear. You are responsive to instructions but in fact retain little (if any) memory of your dental treatment.
Conscious sedation is also ideal for dentistry because it doesn’t require any intervention to maintain airways or breathing – which also makes it extremely safe.
How Does Sleep Dentistry Work?
Patients undergoing sleep dentistry for their dental treatments may:
- Inhale nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas; or
- Take oral sedative tablets; or
- Have sedatives administered intravenously; or
- Have a combination of these sedative methods.
Regardless of the method of sedative, you will remain awake during your appointment and be able to follow any instructions your dentist gives you. Your breathing will stay normal and not require any assistance. However, your awareness or consciousness will be impaired, which is very effective at reducing stress, anxiety and fear. Many patients find that they cannot remember much from their appointment, and some fall into a light sleep while in the dental chair.
Because dental sedation does not stop you from feeling discomfort during your treatment, local anaesthetic will still be necessary to numb the area in your mouth being treated.
Who Can Have Sleep Dentistry?
We look at a range of different factors when assessing your suitability to have dental sedation. Your level of anxiety or phobia toward dental treatments is a major factor. We also consider how long your treatment will be, as sedation can be useful for combining several appointments into one long one for convenience.
We take a detailed patient history and physical examination and assess age, health and physical circumstances when we determine patient suitability. Patients are also required to accept responsibility for following the specified pre- and post-sedation care instructions we provide.