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Sedation Dentistry Versus Sleep Dentistry – Helping With Anxiety




A lot of people are afraid of going to the dentist for various reasons. Some have developed fear and anxiety since they were kids, causing them to forgo important appointments that can lead to more serious complications of the mouth and gums. There can be big oral health and cosmetic issues as people continue to avoid dental checkups and visits.

Sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry were developed to help people alleviate their fears and get them to improve their perspective on dentists and the entire experience. The two have some different features as well. Here are some more tips and guidelines.

Describing Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is described as an approach wherein an experienced sedation dentist uses different sedation techniques and materials to help patients calm down and relax for the upcoming dental procedure. There are different approaches to accomplish relief and get rid of associated fears, pain, and discomfort.

Oral sedation is one of the most commonly used today. This is used by sedation dentists by providing patients with an oral sedative, such as Valium.

The medication will be given 30 to 60 minutes before the appointment and procedure. Patients can expect to be conscious and will respond to verbal and physical stimuli. They will also feel a bit drowsy but very calm and relaxed. It is important for the patient to fix the transportation and have a person ready to assist and monitor his status until the drugs fully wear off. More oral medications might be provided by the dentist as seen fit for the occasion.

Inhalation and Intravenous Route

Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas, which is administered to patients via inhalation to help them relax and feel at ease for the upcoming dental appointment. Patients will be asked to wear and breathe through a mask, providing them with the right amount of nitrous oxide for the visit. The gas will have the same effect as oral medications. The effects last shorter compared to oral drugs, however.

Patients can go through the procedure alone and can even drive back home independently afterward. IV or intravenous sedation used to be the most common form of sedation until oral medications and nitrous oxide was discovered. Today, this is still very much used, by inserting a needle into the blood vessel found on the arm or hand of the patient. This is no longer as common as before because some patients prefer to be sedated without needle and pinpricks.

Describing Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry is not the same as sedation dentistry. In sedation dentistry, patients are placed at ease and will feel drowsy but do not fall asleep. Sleep dentistry puts patients to sleep by administering general anesthesia. By giving general anesthesia, patients are fully unconscious and will not easily respond to verbal or physical stimuli.

Patients should also be monitored properly to make sure that the heart rate and breathing remain normal. It’s vital that someone with a lot of experience and knowledge of anesthetics is present throughout the procedure. Sedation dentistry is preferred by most dentists because it is less complicated and is much safer compared to sleep dentistry. The cost of sleep dentistry is also higher because of anesthesia incorporation.

On Waivers

Both approaches will have patients sign a waiver and document that permits dentists to go through with the procedure. It’s important that patients are well-informed about all the drugs to be given and what they should expect from the procedure. Dentists should sit with the patient before the treatment to inform them fully and answer all their questions and concerns.