Differences between Sleep Dentistry & Sedation Dentistry Omar Grant July 15, 2017 Teeth and Mouth A trip to the dentist can cause a panicked mindset in a huge population of people. Fear of pain, the sound of the drill, and being uncomfortable can prohibit many from even making an appointment. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious health issues. Your dentist will not only keep your teeth and gums in tip top shape, they will be the first to alert you of more in depth diseases, including oral cancer. Regular dental visits should not be avoided or even put off. Thanks to modern medicine and the latest technology, fear should no longer be a reason to not see your dentist. Sedation Dentistry With sedation and sleep dentistry, you won’t feel a thing! But what are the differences? Sedation dentistry is the term given to a method of sedating the patient through a variety of different ways. There are three popular methods of sedation dentistry. The first is oral sedation. In this case, the patient takes a prescribed sedative shortly before their appointment. You will need to arrange a ride to and from your appointment, since it can take a bit to wear off. Another popular choice is nitrous oxide. With nitrous oxide, you breathe through a mask throughout the procedure. The effectiveness is similar to an oral sedative, but effects wear off almost immediately after it is finished. This may be a more convenient option if transportation is an issue for you. There is also an IV sedation option. This has been popular in the past, but with more and more options becoming available, most patients are opting for something less invasive than an IV. With sedation dentistry, you are not fully asleep, just extremely drowsy and relaxed. Some patients may actually become so relaxed that they do, in fact, fall asleep. But sleep dentistry is actually something completely different. With sleep dentistry, you will be administered a general anesthesia. Under this anesthesia, you will be completely unconscious. This is a more serious undertaking with the greater risks associated with general anesthesia. You are monitored throughout the procedure to check your breathing and heart rate. Sleep dentistry is increasing in popularity, but currently most dentists are more comfortable with the safer sedation dentistry. You can decide with your dentist which option is best for you. With so many different types available, make sure you talk both pros and cons for each procedure before you choose the one that is right for you. What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry With one out of 10 individuals avoiding getting dental work done due to fear and anxiety over visiting the dentist, sedation dentistry offers numerous benefits. Sedation dentistry involves the use of sedative drugs administered to the patient to help place them into a relaxed state prior to the start of any dental procedures. The administration of sedative drugs allows the patient to feel relaxed and pain-free throughout the entire dental procedure. The dentist will decide on the type of sedation to best suit the patient, which could range from such anti-anxiety drugs as nitrous oxide to conscious and deep sedation to anesthesia in which the patient is unconscious throughout the dental procedure. One of the biggest benefits of sedation dentistry is that it eliminates the patient’s fear, anxiety and nervousness. This is especially important for individuals whose fear and anxiety levels regarding dentistry have reached such epic levels that their fear of the dentist could be considered a phobia. Untreated dental problems can cause serious risks to an individual’s health and sedation dentistry offers the benefit of a pleasant and stress-free visit to the dentist. Sedation Dentistry 2 A nervous patient is usually a fidgeting patient and patient movements during long procedures can endanger the individual as well as the dentist. Another benefit of sedation dentistry is that by placing the patient in a calm and relaxed mood, patient movements are minimized and they are able to sit quietly and still throughout what would otherwise be lengthy and tiresome procedures. Lack of movement on the patient’s part is especially essential during certain long procedures as well as dental surgery. The use of sedation dentistry benefits both patient and dentist in providing a more pleasant experience for both parties. The patient remains stress-free and the dentist is able to go about his business without undue concern that the patient is suffering mentally or feels ready to jump out of the dental chair. Many individuals who had one or more bad experiences in the dental chair when children can benefit from sedation dentistry because it allows them to experience having their dental work done without experiencing uncomfortable tension, anxiety or downright fear. Knowing that sedation dentistry is available to a patient makes them attend to dental problems before they become more serious or reach a point where they are creating other health issues in the patient. It is important to seek out a professional trained in sedation dentistry or pediatric sedation dentistry if the patient is a child.