Are you a Candidate for Sedation Dentistry?

Do your palms sweat when you receive a notification from your dentist’s office asking you to attend a check-up? Are you suffering from dental problems but too frightened to make an appointment with a professional? Dental avoidance is a very real issue affecting countless people across the country. There are many reasons why someone might avoid visiting the dentist, but in many cases, anxiety or fear is the reason behind skipping these crucial appointments. 

 

Unfortunately, missed dental appointments are bad news for your oral health. Dentists are trained to thoroughly assess our teeth regularly to ensure that they are healthy and in good condition. Just like most other medical issues, any dental problems are more likely to be able to be treated effectively and before they have the chance to make your life unpleasant if they are spotted and diagnosed promptly. 

 

Sedation dentistry, also sometimes called sleep dentistry, is a valuable tool that is being increasingly utilized in dental offices across the country to help patients who might otherwise avoid or be able to undergo dental treatment receive the all-important care that they need and deserve. 

 

 

What is involved in sleep dentistry?

There are different types of sleep dentistry available depending on your requirements. These tend to fall into different categories based on the depth of sedation they provide.

 

The lightest form of sedation is normally administered via nitrous oxide gas, aka laughing gas, which is delivered through a mask placed over your nose. Nitrous oxide is only effective whilst you are breathing it and patients return to normal within a few minutes of ceasing treatment. This form of sedation will help you to feel calmer and more relaxed, but you will be fully aware of everything that is going on around you.

 

Moderate sedation, which is the middle level of sedation, is usually administered via a tablet that is taken an hour or so before your treatment. The effects are more significant, with patients becoming even more relaxed and having some awareness of what is happening, but it will seem hazy and dreamlike. It can take several hours for the effects to wear off. 

 

Deep sedation is normally intravenous, delivered directly into a vein and will put you on the edge of consciousness. You’ll be awake but won’t be able to make sense of what is happening around you and you almost certainly won’t have any memory of the procedure. 

 

The depth of sedation that you will be offered will correlate directly with your reasons for requiring sedation and the extent of the dental work you are having. For example, simple fillings and crowns can usually be achieved with mild to moderate sedation, whilst work like a root canal or dental implant prep may require deep sedation. 

 

Candidacy for sedation dentistry

There are a variety of different types of people who could potentially be suitable candidates for sedation dentistry. Every patient is assessed on an individual basis, with a recommendation for the type of sedation needed then made. Typically, people who undergo sedation dentistry include those who:

 

  • have a moderate to severe fear of the dentist.
  • struggle to reap the benefits of anesthetic. 
  • have a strong gag reflex that makes it difficult for them to tolerate dental treatments.
  • have issues with their temporomandibular joint which can make holding their mouth open difficult.
  • have a physical disability/impairment that means that they cannot tolerate dental appointments. This could be because they physically cannot sit still, lay back, hold their mouth open, etc and without sedation, it could make any dental work unsafe for both the patient and dentist.
  • have a cognitive disability/impairment that means that they cannot tolerate dental appointments. This could be that they don’t understand instructions or cannot follow them, or they are unable to carry out necessary communications with the professional. 

 

Sedation dentistry makes it possible for fearful individuals, and those with disabilities, to access appropriate dental care. To find out more about sedation dentistry, please contact our dental offices.