Sedation Dentistry and Why You May Need It

People don’t like dentists as a rule, which is why sleep or sedation dentistry is a viable option. Poking around inside someone’s mouth is usually a no-no for so many of us. This fear can evolve into a full blown phobia over time, either from a past bad experience with pain at a dental procedure, or from just being scared of the entire process. There are those who say that it is simply the patient perspective that leads to such phobias and fears. Some of us simply dislike sitting in the chair with numerous people hovering over them, poking and prodding. The noises of drills and other dental machines are often added to a negative patient perspective, and that can also lead to fears that develop over time.

There are some experts that say a fear of dentistry can start from a patients initial embarrassment of their current dental condition, and that this can eventually can lead to phobias which delays necessary treatment. Whatever the cause may be is being effectively quelled by sleep and sedation dentistry, or by using the many anesthetizing and anti-anxiety medications to leave a patient completely relaxed while the more invasive work of a dentist is completed.

Sleep and sedation dentistry is a procedure that leaves you completely relaxed, it allows the patient to feel comfortable, and it makes sure that the time spent in the dental chair – regardless of the length of actual time – will feel like no time at all. It works in much the same way as a patient going under general anesthesia during a surgical procedure.

Most patients that undergo sedation dentistry describe it as having taken a short nap, feeling completely relaxed. From the time a patient arrives in the chair, the medication is applied, which leads to the ever increased feeling of relaxation, and as the medication takes hold some patients will not even remember the procedure, once completed. Some have the memory of the dentist team around them, some remember feeling very positive about it, and most – if not all – will suggest feelings of being very safe and secure.

The many dental practices that provide sleep dentistry usually talk the patient through the process – even though the patient is completely sedated. This alleviates any doubts that may still exist in the patients mind – on the small chance that the patient is aware of the procedure. Patients, even being as relaxed as they are, can still be very aware of what is happening around them, although there are many patients that literally fall asleep from the medications and only wake once the procedure is over. Even in cases like this, the dental team will usually dictate their actions as a buffer, and to add to the relaxed atmosphere.

Appointments that last up to 10 to 12 hours can feel like only 5 minutes to the patient, thanks to the medication and the procedure of sedation dentistry. This can be highly appealing to those that may need extensive work and/or those that have serious dental phobias. It’s also highly beneficial to those who would rather have most – if not all – the necessary dental work completed in one visit, as opposed to spreading out their work over periods of many repeat visits.

This kind of dentistry is highly recommended for anyone with a sensitivity to dental work, either through fear or because extensive work is needed from continued neglect. Most people who end up getting this procedure have said that it can change their life, since the pain of having a neglected mouth can be rectified within one dental visit, with literally no bad feelings or trepidation involved. Sleep and sedation dentistry is a very useful procedure in any case, but for those with serious phobias, it is almost necessary to relax and reassure patients. Life has enough anxieties, why should going to the dentist be one of them?

Composite Vs Porcelain Veneers

Before we get into the differences, the pros and cons of composite vs porcelain veneers, it’s important to understand what purposes cosmetic dentistry veneers are generally known to repair or enhance.

Veneers are used to repair the spaces between teeth, as well as to correct permanently stained teeth (external and internal stains). They are also the best method of hiding unsightly fillings, which can occur via cheap dental work, or from having a filling erode over time. Lastly, veneers are almost always the first choice for correcting poorly shaped teeth, so confidence in smiling can be restored.

The next best thing to a porcelain veneer is something called a composite, or resin veneer. Resin is nothing more than a filling material that resembles the color of your teeth, but perhaps made brighter in order to assist in hiding stains. This is the material used to hide a filling once completed, and can be further manipulated and molded to cover over a tooth, creating veneers.

Composite Veneers:

The benefits of composite resins definitely begins at the price point, you can see below just how drastic a price difference there is between the two. As well, a composite veneer can be applied within one dental visit. The most notable benefit of a composite veneer is that it can be repaired if damaged. The downside of resin veneers is they generally will not look as natural or appealing as a porcelain veneer, and they certainly do not last as long. They will discolor quicker than their porcelain counterpart, and they do tend to chip and crack. As well, while you can normally expect a composite veneer in one dental visit, the “in chair” time is around 2 to 3 hours, depending on the amount of work required. This can be a hassle for those who’s dental appointments normally take place during a work day.

Porcelain Veneers:

Porcelain veneers, therein, have many advantages over composites. In the first place they look completely natural; the visual appeal is much better than that of a composite veneer. Also, once applied, the porcelain veneer is much stronger once it is attached and cemented to the tooth. Porcelain does not wear down, and they will not stain as quickly as a resin composite, in fact you would be hard pressed to stain a porcelain veneer at all if they are well maintained.

The only real downside to a porcelain veneer, aside from the price point, is that once chipped they must be replaced. You cannot repair a damaged porcelain veneer. Another important factor that can be considered a disadvantage is that in the process of getting a porcelain veneer, once completed it cannot be reversed. The original tooth enamel is roughed and manipulated in order to make way for the veneer and that will cause a permanent need for the veneer.

The Reality of Cost:
The cost of a composite veneer can run at around 200.00 to 300.00 per tooth, whereas the porcelain counterpart can run anywhere between 800.00 to 2,000.00 (and more). So yes, the price difference is quite drastic. Having said that, the argument is always that while a composite may be cheap in the initial outlay of expense, repairing and replacing resin veneers in the future can limit the savings benefit of any initial cost.

So there you have it. A few pointers on the different kinds of cosmetic dentistry veneers and I hope they offer some insight as to which may be the best option for you or your loved ones.

Coming soon I will detail a newer procedure which is quite exciting, and adds to your options. It’s not necessarily considered veneers, but is being touted as a quality alternative. It’s a product called “Lumineers”, and I’ll explain the pro’s and cons of this system and product in the same context.

In the meantime, brush, floss, and rinse!!

Sleep Sedation Dentistry Vs Pain Free Dentists

In my last article I explained sleep sedation dentistry from the point of view of an extremely fearful and phobic patient. This time, I’ll give you a bit more detail and technical information on just exactly what sedation and sleep dentistry can accomplish, especially for the patient afraid of extensive or intrusive dental work.

Before I move on, it is worthwhile to mention that sleep dentistry is not limited to those with a fear of dentists, it’s also just as viable and effective a procedure for those who need very extensive work done. People who have avoided the dentist for 10 to even 20 years will need the kind of restorative and cosmetic work done that could take months of long and arduous dental visits. This reality is notably one of the biggest reasons that some will remain in poor dental health, since the enormous commitment of time and discomfort is both cost prohibitive (from lost time at their jobs) and from a wish to avoid long hours sitting in a dentists chair as the work is done fractionally over long periods.

Sedation makes it entirely possible to have an entire mouth completed, both in restorative and some (if not all) cosmetic work, within one sitting. Now you know, the reasons for sedation procedures are certainly not limited to those with debilitating fears of dentistry.

What Happens During An Appointment?

Obviously there will be 2 visits required, one being a consultation – wherein the mouth and teeth are assessed and an X ray taken. On this visit models of the mouth will be cast and certain broad stroke decisions can be made as to how best to proceed with the sedation visit. The more detailed assessment will be done after a careful examination of the x-rays and other measurements taken from your initial visit.

On your second visit, the work begins. If called for and requested, you will be given an anti anxiety tablet to take 30 to 60 minutes before the visit. Once you arrive and are in the dentist chair you can be given nitrous oxide (laughing gas is the common name) and an IV is then applied which will provide necessary sedation to put you in a “sleep state”.  During the length of IV sedation you are given powerful pain medications along with the sedatives.

It is not uncommon for a sedation dentist to perform root canal, perio surgery, implants, extractions, crowns, veneers, all while you are peacefully asleep and comfortable. In fact most patients – having had even more extensive surgery – note that often they do not even remember leaving the dentisits office once they are revived.

The Difference (Devil) Is All In The Label (Details):

Pain Free Dentist – this is typically a dentist that uses only local anesthetics. This is basic dentistry so don’t be confused into thinking it is anything special. Any dental practitioner can say they are “pain free” dentists.

Sedation Dentists – This is dentistry wherein – unless specified otherwise – will provide you with some anti-anxiety medications, but in general this is very mild sedation and certainly not to be confused with IV sedation and complete sleep sedation dentistry.

IV Sedation – essentially IV sedation is its’ own category. This is the practice of putting the patient completely asleep and completely negating pain. While this is comparative to being at a hospital under general anesthesia, the heart is beating on its’ own, reflexes are still intact, and the patient remains responsive if necessary. However, the patient is, in fact, asleep.

Anyone in need of a lifetime’s worth of dental work and that has no time, it may be to your benefit to seek out a qualified sleep sedation dentistry practice. The benefits of having a ton of work completed in one visit are of enormous value to someone with an unhealthy mouth. Just be sure to do your research and seek out the best in the field. Dentistry practices with in-house labs, 3D Xrays, and those also skilled in neuro muscular techniques are the best bet for anyone in need of a great deal of work. While these practices are hard to find they are out there. If you are in need of such a clinic and need a recommendation, email me here through my contact form and I will certainly steer you in the right direction.