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.