Pick one! A horror movie night or a visit to the dentist? If you just opted to watch a horror movie over going to the dentist, and find yourself constantly avoiding seeing your dentist, you seriously need some help.

But don’t worry, you are not alone. Many Australians deny visiting the dentist despite a bad state of their oral health. This fear of the dentist or dental procedures is often known as dental anxiety or phobia in severe cases.

The good news is a revolutionary technological advancement in dentistry can help you face your fears. Sleep dentistry is the procedure you must be asking your dentist for the next time you visit them. And as far as our experience goes, you surely are going to call the dentist after reading this blog.

All You Need to Know About Sleep Dentistry

1. What is Sleep Dentistry?

Sleep dentistry is the process used to provide a virtually pain-free and comfortable dental treatment to patients using a range of sedatives. It is used to perform various dental treatments that otherwise would have been painful for a patient. People suffering from dental anxiety and phobia also benefit a great deal from sleep dentistry as they no longer need to worry about the pain and discomfort.

This process is often also called ‘sedation dentistry’, disregarding the minute difference between the two which stems from the choice of sedatives. Some sedatives, such as general anaesthesia, produce a calming effect where the patient can sleep during the dental procedure. While some lighter sedatives, such as laughing gas, can only make you dizzy and relaxed enough to lay still during your dental treatment.

2. What types of sedation are used?

Sleep dentistry uses a wide range of sedatives to suit individual needs and make dental treatments less scary. The most common types of sedation used are as follows:

  • General anaesthesia
  • IV sedation
  • Happy gas or nitrous oxide
  • Oral sedation
  • Anti-anxiety medication/ sedation via inhalation

All these sedation options produce varied results that help dentists provide their best dental treatment. A patient can select any sedation option that suits their dental treatment requirements and general health. Sedatives are also used with analgesics to ensure the patient has maximum comfort during their dental treatment.

3. Are there any side effects of sedation?

As with any other surgeries, the after-effects of sedation may show for a short period following the surgery. Some of the side effects of sleep dentistry include dry mouth, mild headache, dizziness, nausea, and visual disturbances. These side effects are rare, and one might not experience any. However, to minimise the health risks for a patient, our dentists make sure the patient is not allergic to a sedative. We conduct a thorough medical history investigation of every patient to determine their suitability for sleep dentistry. We encourage patients to share their medical history before proceeding with sleep dentistry.

4. What is the follow up required?

The follow up after undergoing a sleep dentistry treatment mainly depends on the type and duration of the dental treatment itself. For example, a patient with dental implants will have a different follow-up regime than the one who had a root canal treatment. Our dentists at Healthy Smiles Dental Group provide each patient with a customised and detailed follow-up plan to ease things and avoid confusion.

5. Who is suitable for sleep dentistry?

The following types of patients are deemed the best candidates for sleep dentistry:

  • People with severe dental anxiety or phobia
  • People with conditions causing involuntary movements
  • People with a severe gag reflex
  • People with low pain threshold
  • Anyone who needs extensive dental treatment
  • People with extremely sensitive teeth

However, please note that certain other health conditions need to be determined before proceeding with the surgery. Consulting a specialist sleep dentist will help you decide better. To know whether you are a candidate for sleep dentistry, visit our Healthy Smiles Dental Group clinic in Blackburn. You can also book an appointment by calling us on 03 9877 2035.

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