Sleep Dentistry: Saviour to your Dental Phobia

Have you been avoiding the dentist because you feel nervous about going to a dental clinic? The truth is, avoiding the dentist can have a serious effect on the long-term state of your dental health. Ironically, people who avoid going to see the dentist often end up seeing much more of the dentist than they would like.

If you have dental phobia or anxiety, you can consider sleep dentistry or sedation dentistry so that you won’t have to put off dental treatments any more. Your dental treatment could be carried out while you are sedated using either general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation.

Whichever you choose, the desired result is a more comfortable treatment experience. 

What’s the difference between General Anaesthesia and IV Sedation?

The main difference between the two types of anaesthetic procedures boils down to the methods employed and patient experience.

For general anaesthesia, the patient is required to wear a mask through which he or she inhales the sedation gas. IV sedation is administered intravenously with an injection through the veins. GA is used to facilitate dental treatment in adult patients with special needs, or used for certain treatments or anxious patients. GA dentists work closely with qualified anaesthetists to administer the procedure

Patients undergoing general anesthesia are completely unconscious throughout the procedure. In other words, they would be sleeping through the procedure.

With IV Sedation, you would still be conscious in a dream-like state, and may still respond to the dentist during treatment. Interestingly, you will have no recollection of the process afterwards. Sedation dentistry is regularly used for procedures that normally do not require any kind of anesthetic.

Both methods are designed such that you will experience no pain during treatment.

Why is sleep dentistry important?

Sleep dentistry can help you to relax while your dentist works on your treatment.

Whether you are put into an unconscious or semi-conscious state, it enables you to undergo the procedure without feelings of anxiety. This is just as important for the dentist, as a nervous patient can sometimes be uncooperative, and interfere with the flow of dental work.

In a worst-case scenario, an anxious patient may cause the procedure to be aborted midway, which can have detrimental effects on the treatment outcome.

Sleep dentistry is designed to let the dentist perform procedures in a safe and predictable manner. When the patient is at ease, the dentist can focus on the task at hand.

Other benefits include:

Increased comfort: When patients experience comfort during procedures, they would be more willing to visit a dentist in future when the need arises

Control of gag reflex: Sedation dentistry will help to control a patient’s gag reflex, which often hinders the work of a dentist.

Zero or scant memory of treatment: Patients will have little or no memory of the treatment, so they will not be haunted by thoughts about the procedure later on.

Multiple treatments: Sleep dentistry is usually recommended for cosmetic treatments, tooth extractions, or dental implant surgeries. They are also recommended when patients wish to combine several dental procedures in one sitting to save time and money.

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