For many people, the thought of an appointment with a dentist is as terrifying as a nightmare. This is because a lot of dental procedures can be quite painful and unpleasant. As a result, patients put off appointments with their dentist as long as they possibly can. If you’re one of such patients, you’re not alone. There are countless others just like you dreaming up excuses for why they’ll miss their next session.
It might interest you to know that you can now go through dental procedures without having to experience any pain, fear, or anxiety. Sleep dentistry is an option now available for people who are apprehensive of dental procedures.
What is Sleep Dentistry?
Sleep dentistry is also called sedation dentistry. It is a dental process in which patients are put to sleep during a dental treatment. This sleep (sedation) can be induced in varying degrees depending on the patient’s choice. Typically, more apprehensive patients are put to sleep completely, that is, they are totally unconscious during the entire process. Toget more info on this type of dental care, simply reach out to your oral doctor, he or she will be glad to tell all you all you need to know.
Who Can Use Sleep Dentistry?
Anyone can use sleep dentistry. From people who feel anxious of dental processes, people who have put off dental appointments for years, people who shake at the sound of dental tools, to people who are indifferent about the pian but would fancy a less painful approach, this option is open to all and sundry.
Types of Sleep Dentistry
There are three major types of sleep or sedation used in dental care treatments. They are:
- Oral sedation
- Intravenous (IV) sedation
- Inhalation (laughing gas) sedation
In oral sedation, the patient takes a dose (pill) of sedative before the procedure is commenced. The amount taken will be decided by the dentist after accessing the patient. In some cases, the patient may have to take one pill the night before the appointment and one right before the appointment. This is entirely dependent on the patient’s level of apprehension and the dentist’s diagnosis.
In this type of sedation, you remain awake, but slightly unconscious while being in a relaxed state. In most cases, people remember little or nothing about the entire process. As a safety measure, your dentist may use medical equipment to monitor your vitals, typically your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. You’ll be told if it is necessary or not.
At the end of the procedure, you still remain dizzy and somewhat out of it but this feeling should be gone by the next day. However, you would be indisposed to drive and so you should have someone follow you to the appointment.
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
IV sedation is in two forms. The first one involves the patient being on the edge of consciousness. The patient is conscious but hardly aware of what is going in the surrounding. In this type of sedation, the dentist is able to wake you up if there is need for that.
The other is the use of general anesthesia which completely knocks patients out. In this process, patients will rely on a breathing machine as they are totally unconscious. This type of sedation is employed for patients who are about to undergo a major oral surgery. It may also be used for patients who have become resistant to the other types of sedation. This type of sedation requires the expertise of an anesthesiologist that will administer it and be present to monitor the patient’s vital signs.
Inhalation Sedative (Laughing Gas)
This sedative procedure involves the patient breathing in nitrous oxide which is known as laughing gas. It helps keeps the patient relaxed during the entire process. It is very effective but its effect begins to wear off the moment the patient stops breathing it in.
Once you are settled in the dentist’s chair, you are given a nose apparatus similar to that of oxygen mask; through this apparatus you’ll breathe in the gas. The effect of nitrous oxide is very quick and will be felt within seconds. Once its effect kicks in, patients feel relaxed but are still very conscious of their surroundings. In fact, they are able to respond to their dentist during treatment.
It is worthy of note that laughing gas is the most common sedative used by dentists in sedative dentistry. This is because its effects wear off very quickly once it is no longer being inhaled. At the end of the treatment, patients are well able to drive themselves home as they will be fully conscious. Visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/nitrous-oxide to learn more about the laughing gas.
Benefits of Sleep Dentistry
The following are benefits of sleep dentistry:
- Anxiety control: As already established, a lot of people are scared of dental processes. Sometimes, this level of fear can lead to complication during treatment. But through sleep dentistry, this factor is completed eliminated.
- Gag reflex control: People with very sensitive gag reflexes have a hard time during dental treatments. This reflex can make a simple dental procedure take longer than expected however, with sedative dentistry, it can be brough to a minimum and controlled.
- Pain suppression: With the help of sleep dentistry, patients can receive dental treatments without feeling the pain that is usually involved.
- Fewer appointments: Through sedative dentistry, a lot more can be done in fewer appointments because patients are unconscious thereby giving the dentist ample time to get work done.
- Treatment of patients with mental disability: With sleep dentistry, patients with mental disabilities that are unable to cooperate can be made unconscious and treated with ease.
Thanks to technological advancements, one of the major concerns in dentistry is slowly fading away. While sedation dentistry can be used by anyone, patients with other health issues should bring them to their dentist’s attention so that tests are carried out to ensure these sedatives won’t cause any complications.