What is Sleep or Sedation Dentistry and why is it Necessary?
Many people become anxious or nervous at the thought of visiting the dentist and some will even avoid treatment altogether. Sleep or sedation dentistry is a great way for patients to overcome these fears during dental treatments. Sleep dentistry can also be used for anyone who has a very strong gag reflex, or who needs a substantial amount of dental work to restore oral health. Sedation dentistry can take several different forms as the sedative provided can be mild to moderate, giving a sense of deep relaxation, or can induce a state of drowsiness where patients remember little, if anything about their treatment.
Who Can Have Sleep Dentistry and is it Safe?
Sedation dentistry is generally suitable for all ages, but we will need to know your complete medical and dental history beforehand. During treatment, patients are carefully monitored and are never left alone. Afterwards we will make sure you are completely recovered before you leave our practice. Modern sedation techniques are extremely safe, but all types of sedation carry a very small level of risk. This is why we assess every patient very carefully before recommending sedation dentistry as your health is always our main priority.
I Only Need Mild Sedation: What are My Options?
If you only need mild sedation then we may suggest nitrous oxide, better known as ‘happy gas.’ The gas is inhaled through a small mask placed over your nose and quickly produces a sensation of deep relaxation and well-being. Once the gas is turned off, it is soon eliminated from the body. Oral sedation is given in the form of a pill that you take before treatment. It is ideal for reducing anxiety before you get to our practice and if required can be topped up with additional sedation at your appointment.
What about Intravenous Sedation?
Intravenous sedation is very useful for anyone who is quite nervous or who requires a lengthier appointment. With intravenous sedation you will feel very deeply relaxed and while you will still be able to respond to our staff, you’ll remember very little, if anything about your appointment. The sedative and sometimes a painkiller are administered through a vein in your forearm or on the back of the hand and quickly take effect. Recovery afterwards is quite quick, although we will want to keep an eye on you for half an hour or so afterwards.
Is General Anaesthesia Used for Dental Treatments?
A general anaesthetic might be recommended under certain circumstances, where treatment is lengthy or complex. You will be completely unaware of any treatment but recovery will be longer than with intravenous sedation.