Most trips to the dental office are uneventful. You check in at the front desk, fill out a few forms and follow an office staff member to a treatment room for an exam or cleaning. You hop in the chair, lean back, and let the experts do their job.
That’s the experience most patients have. But if you’re one of the few patients that gets tense and uneasy at the thought of even a gentle teeth cleaning, sleep dentistry (also known as dental sedation) may be an option.
The term “sleep dentistry” isn’t entirely accurate, since patients are usually awake, with the exception of those who are under general anesthesia. The types of sleep dentistry can range from minimal sedation (resulting in a very relaxed, but awake state) to general anesthesia which renders the patient unconscious throughout the procedure. Sleep dentistry can be used for everything from invasive procedures like extractions of wisdom teeth, dental implants, and any complex oral surgeries, to more routine procedures like cleanings or scaling & root planning. Sleep dentistry may also be appropriate for patients who:
- Have a low pain threshold
- Can’t sit still in the dentist chair
- Have very sensitive teeth
- Have a bad gag reflex
- Need a large amount of dental work done
It all depends on a patient’s condition and the severity of a patient’s anxiety and fear, and isn’t necessary for many common treatments. Whether sleep dentistry is required in your situation is a conversation you need to have with your dentist.
Sleep dentistry can definitely take the anxiety out of your visit to the dentist. When your dental procedure is completed, you may awaken with little or no recollection of the procedure. In fact, you may be surprised that you’re all done!