Safety Slogans

Sleep Dentistry - An answer for the Dentally Nervous?

Daniel Daniel Dentistry - In case you are someone who doesn't like dental appointments- and that i mean who REALLY doesn't like dental appointments, to begin being highly anxious, phobic or panicked about them- you may have wondered whether there's a way of having your dental care done without you needing to be aware of what's going on.

You may be pleased to know that there are options for people for example yourself! Your dental care could be carried out in a Dentist's office while you're sedated using Intravenous Sedation in the appointment that is sometimes referred to as "Sleep Dentistry".

It's important for you to understand that "Sleep Dentistry" is really a misnomer- people seldom really get to sleep during a "Sleep Dentistry" appointment. However, many people who receive "Sleep Dentistry" do have an experience that they will interpret as 'I was asleep for my dental work'. Let's see what that actually means...

"Intravenous Sedation" is a term that describes the process of giving sedative drugs to anyone through a vein. A line is set up into the vein, through which a registered practitioner administers the sedative medications. The individual rapidly becomes drowsy and relaxed, as well as the dental treatment is done but they remain in this heavily sedated state. The sedatives used are strong, and do take a long time to wear off. However, people generally only have to remain under supervision inside the dental office for a short period after their appointment. If they are sufficiently recovered to go away the dental office, they actually do so under the supervision of the adult family member or friend, who then has to stay with them at home until the effects of the sedation are completely gone.

This type of sedation can be called 'Conscious Sedation' because the patient remains conscious always during the appointment (unlike a broad anaesthetic where they're completely unconscious). Patients will often be so relaxed that they will doze off a little, but if the dentist asks them a question they are easily roused and will generally answer it.

You may be wondering how a conscious patient could ever refer to intravenous sedation as "Sleep Dentistry"?

The solution lies in one of the unwanted side effects of the sedative drugs that are used: most patients undergoing intravenous sedation will experience some level of amnesia. They might remember arriving at the dentist, they may remember areas of the trip home, but they seldom remember many details in any way about the dental treatment itself. As far as they are concerned, these were 'asleep' during the entire appointment- hence the description "Sleep Dentistry".

Intravenous Sedation for Dentistry is just not without risks, your dentist will always discuss these with you before you make your appointment. Simply a well-trained and registered group of professionals can deliver this kind of sedation. It's for this reason that only a couple of Dental Practices ever offer this service. Your National Dental Association will be able to help you find an appropriately qualified and registered practice locally.

Of course, intravenous sedation for dentistry won't ever cure a dental phobia or high dental anxiety. It can, however, provide an alternative for people who otherwise might not exactly seek the dental treatment they might need, and knowing that it's available can make patients feel a lot more relaxed about ongoing dental care.