Dental treatment is no luxury, it's an essential component to maintaining good health. A tooth infection is just as serious as an infection everywhere else, but you can avoid these issues with regular dental care. However, many people struggle with a fear of going to the dentist that keeps them from the care they need. Sleep dentistry can help keep anxiety at bay and make your next dentist appointment a breeze.
Sleep Dentists Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety
In mild cases of dental anxiety, it's possible to use simple relaxation techniques to achieve a state of calm. If this works for a patient, it should be enough to make the appointment much easier. On the other hand, more severe cases might require a medical solution.
What About Sleep Dentistry?
Sleep dentistry doesn't necessarily entail sedating the patient until they're sleeping. Typically, the specially trained sleep dentist administers a mild sedative after checking their medical history and making sure there are no risk factors. Depending on the severity of anxiety and the type of dental procedure, it's possible to produce different levels of sedation.
Level of Sedation
General sedation medications include nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. Instead of causing the patient to go to sleep, these medications produce a sense of calm, reduced inhibition, and lightened pain sensitivity. In most cases, nitrous oxide is sufficient to put a patient at ease and ensure a pleasant experience at the dentist. However, there are also stronger options available.
Intravenous sedatives are typically more potent than laughing gas but don't produce an effect of general anesthesia. The deeper sedative effect is suitable for patients with high anxiety, especially during longer or more uncomfortable dental procedures. While the effect is stronger, patients will remain conscious for the duration of the procedure. If this isn't adequate, then general anesthesia represents the strongest option.
Before a sleep dentist is legally allowed to induce general anesthesia in a patient, they need to undergo special training. The result of general anesthesia is that the patient loses consciousness, remains still, and has no memory of the procedure. It's suitable for long or painful procedures, as well as making dental work palatable to those with high anxiety or behavioral issues.
Learn More About Dental Sedation
If sleep dentistry sounds like the solution to your dental anxiety problems, you should talk to your doctor and make sure sedation is a good choice for you. If you have more questions, then you should consult a specially trained sleep dentist who's ready with the answers.