Are you still afraid of going to the dentist and are out of excuses now? Good news! There’s a method by which your dentist can not only treat you but also it will be a painless experience for you. Chances are, you won’t even remember the whole procedure.
What is Sleep Dentistry?
Sleep dentistry is the branch of dentistry which involves suppressing the central nervous system of a patient while performing dental surgery. This is achieved with the help of anaesthesia, or other sedative medications. It is also known as sedation dentistry.
Sleep dentistry is particularly helpful in cases of:
- old-aged patients who have other medical conditions such as a weaker heart
- little children who cannot sit still for a while
- adults with low pain threshold
- major accidents where a patient has many other injuries
- patients with the very severe gag reflex
How the Process of Sleep Dentistry Works?
The process of sleep dentistry is rather simple. Firstly, when a patient makes an appointment with our dentists at Healthy Smiles, they are asked about their medical history.
- Depending on a few factors like medical history and age of the patient, the kind of sedative is selected.
- Sleep dentistry can be used for many treatments like dental implants, crowns, cleaning of gums, porcelain veneers, etc.
- In many cases, where anaesthesia is used, the procedure takes place in the presence of anaesthetic in a specialised hospital rather than at the dentists.
- Usually, the sedative lasts for a couple of hours and starts wearing off gradually.
- There is no hospitalisation required for sleep dentistry.
Forms of Sedation Dentistry
A patient is provided with more than one options of sleep dentistry based on which sedative is used.
1) General Anaesthesia:
A registered and experienced anaesthetist administers the dose of general anaesthesia at a hospital with the necessary equipment. After which the dentist continues with the actual dental surgery. It generally takes only a couple of hours for the dental surgery unless the procedure is very complex. And once the effects of the anaesthesia wear off, the patient can leave the hospital.
This form of sedation is best suited for patients with an intense fear of dental equipment or it is most common for patients after accidents.
2) Sedation using IV:
In this method, the anaesthesia is given to a patient via an IV. The effects vary from person to person. That’s why the anaesthesia is given to a patient in controlled doses keeping in mind his/her health conditions. And once the patient is relaxed enough, the dental surgery starts. The duration of the dental procedure can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
This is best suited for patients who need a longer dental procedure in a single go. Because small doses of anaesthesia can be given if the effects start to wear off during the procedure. This method also works for people with a mild phobia.
3) Laughing Gas:
Nitrous oxide is the gas known as Happy Gas or Laughing Gas due to its relaxing capabilities. Nitrous oxide combined with oxygen is given to a patient normally by a nose-piece. Prior to selecting this form, a complete health history is taken because people with respiratory disorders are not suitable for this method.
Sedation through happy gas is particularly popular with small children and people who are afraid of the needles.
4) Sedation via Inhalation:
Sedation via inhalation is the easiest of them all. It involves sedating a patient using a specially designed device. The medication used here is anti-anxiety. It is more common for a patient to even drive back home after dental treatments using sedation via inhalation.
This medication is often safe for young adults, and it lasts for about 10-45 minutes.
5) Oral Sedation:
Oral sedation is the most widely used form of sedation. A choice of sedative medication, in the form of a pill, is selected depending upon the patient’s health. This pill is taken 1 hour preceding the dental procedure and can result in an instant sleep state.
This method is used for all minor dental surgeries. The intensity of sleep through oral pills is hard to decide, as it varies from person to person. Some people may be partially awake throughout the dental surgery while some people might be fast asleep.
You must read: Frequently asked questions about sleep dentistry
It is best advised to visit a reputable Melbourne dentist first and then decide on the course of sedation dentistry which can suit you the best. And here, our dentists at Healthy Smiles step in to help you right from the beginning till the end, with their immense experience in this field.