Some people are very nervous about dental treatment and find themselves interested in Sleep Dentistry.
“Sleep dentistry” refers to several types of dental sedation. These include:
- Oral Sedation
- Inhalation Sedation (Happy Gas)
- Intravenous Sedation (IV Sedation)
- General Anaesthesia
While these are all very different forms of dental sedation, they all have one thing in common: they reduce the patient’s awareness of dental procedures that they might otherwise feel anxious about.
Anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed for an anxious patient, who takes it by mouth prior to the dental appointment. The timing of the dose ensures that the patient experiences the sedative effect before treatment begins.
The level of sedation experienced depends on the prescribed dose: it ranges from mild to moderate. A patient receiving oral sedation remains conscious during the procedure but will feel relaxed, perhaps slightly sleepy.
After the procedure, the patient may continue to feel the effects of the medication until it leaves their system. A restful time at home is recommended after the dental appointment.
Also known as “Happy Gas”, this type of sedation enters the body via the lungs.
Happy gas is a colourless, tasteless gas. The patient inhales a mixture of Happy gas and oxygen through a nose mask during the dental appointment. The patient experiences mild sedation, sometimes even euphoria, while they are breathing in the gas. As soon as the nose mask is removed most of the effects of the gas disappear.
Intravenous sedation introduces a sedative medication into the body through a vein. This requires the attendance of a suitably qualified specialist.
Shortly after the sedation is administered, the patient becomes deeply sedated and may even fall asleep. However, they remain conscious during the appointment. Despite this, the sedation is so profound that the patient feels no anxiety about the treatment. They generally remember nothing at all about the appointment.
A patient who receives intravenous sedation must be accompanied home by a responsible adult. The effects of intravenous sedation may last for hours.
Some people prefer to have their dental treatment performed under a full general anaesthetic. This is performed at the hospital or specialist rooms.
A specialist anaesthetist delivers the anaesthetic, and a nursing team supports the patient during the procedure and recovery period.
A general anaesthetic renders the patient unconscious and there is no recollection of the dental procedure.
Which Type Of Sleep Dentistry Is Best?
It depends on many factors, including the patient’s health history, their current medications and the degree of dental anxiety that they experience.
Patient preference varies considerably. Some people truly wish to be “completely knocked out” for dental treatment. Others will accept lighter forms of sedation (or even just Dr. Teo’s brand of TLC)!
Every form of sedation dentistry carries risks. It’s important to be fully aware of these risks.
There are also risks associated with avoiding dental treatment because of anxiety.
Sleep Dentistry at Ailin Teo Dental Surgery
We have two priorities:
1. To ensure every patient receives the dental care that they need
2. To put every person at ease during every dental appointment.
If dental anxiety is preventing you from accessing the treatment that you need, it’s important to know your options. Dr. Teo has many years of experience working with anxious patients, and understands that you are likely to have many questions about sleep dentistry.
It’s important to Dr. Teo that you know the benefits, risks and costs before you go ahead with treatment under sedation. For this reason, a consultation is always required before any treatment appointments with sedation can be scheduled.
Our Ultimate Aim For Nervous Patients
Dr. Teo believes that most patients, even those who are profoundly anxious about dental treatment, will eventually be able to attend their dental appointments without needing regular sedation.
This can happen when:
- The individual feels comfortable and empowered during appointments,
- The dental team is aware of, respectful of and responsive to each individual’s needs and fears
- The dental team demonstrates that they can be trusted to be gentle, caring and consistently able to deliver quality treatment.
We invite you to come and meet Dr. Teo and to discover for yourself her brand of gentle and respectful dental care. Please feel free to call the practice to make a consultation appointment.
You can also read more about how we take care of nervous patients here.