For some patients visiting the dentist can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be with sleep dentistry. Whether you dread getting your teeth cleaned or a cavity filled, a Galleria Dental sleep dentist can help relieve your fear and anxiety. Rest assured knowing that our sedation techniques are absolutely safe and pain-free so that you can focus on what’s really important: your dental health.
At Galleria Dental, we understand that going to the dentist can sometimes be a scary thing. For this reason, our trained staff of sleep dentistry professionals will consult with you to determine the level of sedation that’s best for you. The four most common levels of sedation are as follows:
- Minimal sedation – you are awake during the procedure but in a relaxed state
- Moderate sedation – you are conscious but not fully alert and may not remember much afterwards
- Deep sedation – you are not awake during the procedure but you can still be woken up if necessary
- General anesthesia – you are in a state of unconsciousness and unable to feel pain or sensation
What types of sedation dentistry are used?
The level of sedation a patient receives depends greatly on his or her level of anxiety and dental health care need. These are the types of sleep dentistry ordered from least to greatest:
Nitrous oxide sedation is used for mild forms of patient anxiety. An oxygen mask is placed over your mouth and nose so that you can inhale “laughing gas” that calms you down. Nitrous oxide gas offers the smallest concentration of sedative and wears off fairly quickly–you can even drive yourself home after the procedure.
Oral sedation ranges in intensity from minimal to moderate. In cases where minimal sedation is required, the sedative can take the form of a Valium-like pill taken a hour before the procedure that makes you drowsy during it. If a stronger dose is required, a Galleria Dental technician may provide the sedative in addition to nitrous oxide gas, allowing patients to fall asleep during the procedure while still allowing them to be roused from their slumber. It is recommended with this and the following forms of sedation that you have a friend or family member pick you up once the dentist visit is complete.
Intravenous (IV) sedation, as the name implies, is delivered through a needle so that the sedative can be quickly introduced to the bloodstream. The dentist may also prescribe additional sedatives and anti-anxiety medication the night before the procedure to ensure that you are at your most relaxed state.
Deep sedation is employed for those patients with severe anxiety and/or in cases where substantial oral surgery is required. You will be under general anesthesia so that you cannot be easily woken up until the anesthesia fully wears off.
In addition to sedatives, your dentist will likely administer an anesthetic for pain and discomfort. Patients with high levels of anxiety, low pain thresholds, and sensitive teeth and gums are among the best candidates for sleep dentistry, although that can best be determined through a consultation with a dental professional. Sedation is generally safe with no lasting side effects, but you want to be sure to provide your dentist with a full medical history so that he or she can determine the level and type of sedation you will need.
For any additional questions or concerns about sleep dentistry, contact Galleria Dental in Houston today!