Sleep Dentistry – A concept that has been welcomed with open arms by dental practitioners, dental associations, and patients alike. Both its application and popularity are increasing day by day.
Despite being an integral part of the overall health of a person, dental health is neglected many times. People visit the clinics and hospitals for routine body check-ups but they don’t visit the dentist for regular dental check-ups. One of the reasons behind this phenomenon is the fear and anxiety experienced by people when they think, hear, read, or talk about dental treatments.
Dentistry has evolved over the years due to the continual research and studies carried out by experts and the implementation of the latest techniques and equipment by dentists. However, one fact that has remained unchanged is the perception of people towards dental procedures, practitioners, and facilities. Words like ‘dentist’ and ‘dental clinic’ act as a trigger of nervousness in many individuals.
Therefore, when it comes to dental treatments, making the patients feel at ease becomes the first priority of any dentist. Well, this becomes possible when patients fix an appointment and encounter dentists. But many people learn to live with the pain and discomfort that accompany the dental issues to avoid meeting the dentists. In such a situation, availability and awareness of methods that can alleviate anxiety and stress related to dental visits are essential.
What is the Process of Sleep Dentistry?
Sleep dentistry is the outcome of efforts made by dental experts to offer treatments in a stress-free manner. It involves the use of general anesthesia for making patients get unconscious. As a patient stays unconscious throughout the whole procedure, the dentist can work conveniently.
Patients don’t try to make involuntary physical movements that result from fear, anxiety, and other unpleasant emotions. So, the dentist can complete the treatment procedure within a pre-determined time. The type and amount of anesthesia required in every session depend on the type of dental treatment, number and duration of sessions, the severity of the issue, and most importantly, the level of anxiety of the patient.
Once the anesthesia wears off, which usually takes anywhere between a few minutes to some hours, patients regain consciousness. As they have no memory of the procedure, no addition takes place to their nervousness or reluctance regarding dental visits. They can drive back home and continue their day-to-day activities. Dentists check the condition of patients before letting them leave the clinic to ensure that the effect of anesthesia has ended.
Are Sleep Dentistry and Sedation Dentistry the Same?
The terms ‘Sleep Dentistry” and “Sedation Dentistry” are used interchangeably many times, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Sleep dentistry refers to the process of making patients go into a state of complete unconsciousness. So, they can’t feel anything or move their body.
On the other hand, sedation dentistry refers to the process of making patients go into a state of sedation. Amongst the different levels or stages of sedation, the appropriate level is determined by the dentist after considering vital factors. Depending on the sedation level, patients can experience a variety of outcomes, such as drowsiness, restrained physical movements, and more.
But it’s noteworthy to mention that patients can interact with the dentist during the procedure even while being sedated. Patients feel relaxed and calm as a result of sedation. Thus, dentists can carry out the treatment without any hesitation from the side of patients. Dentists induce sedation by administering oral medication, IV drugs (Intravenous drugs), and nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas).
Which Treatments require Sleep Dentistry?
Experts recommend using sleep dentistry only for those patients who need complicated and highly invasive dental treatments, such as dental implants, replacement of dental implants, root canal, and removal of wisdom tooth. Procedures required to be performed in treatments related to general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and other types of dentistry can be completed effortlessly with the help of sleep dentistry.
What are the Benefits and Side Effects of Sleep Dentistry?
Dentists use sleep dentistry as a means to complete the dental procedures for treating patients who are facing complex dental problems. Sleep dentistry is a perfect solution for helping patients get rid of their anxiety and control gag reflex. Even those patients who don’t feel stressed regarding dental treatments can be benefitted from this amazing process.
As they sleep throughout the procedure, they don’t feel the pain, which at times can be unbearable. Sleep dentistry is ideal for dental procedures that require patients to visit the clinic or hospital for multiple sessions. Patients don’t remember the procedure, and so, they don’t develop any further fear related to dentists.
Some people experience side effects of dental anesthesia in the form of itching, rashes, swelling of the mouth, and difficulty in breathing. But the headache and nausea, which are common side effects, are not an area of concern as these are just temporary.
The treatment for broken teeth, misaligned teeth, sore gums, and many other issues can be carried out effectively and smoothly by utilizing sleep dentistry. This process is also very helpful in the case of patients who need to undergo oral surgeries. Children, who feel scared of dentists more than anyone else, can be treated with sleep dentistry.
Sleep dentistry is ideal for treating dental patients who suffer from “Odontophobia”, i.e., fear of dentists. But you must know that dentists resorting to sleep dentistry should possess adequate knowledge and experience. Therefore, when your dentist suggests this process, ensure to find out their credentials.
Don’t let the anxiety and fear stand in the way of receiving the best dental treatments for achieving dental health, brightening your teeth, and restoring your smile. But remember to discuss the risks associated with the sleep dentistry with your dentist to conclude whether you are a suitable candidate or not.