Sleep dentistry allows dental patients to experience their dental therapy in the most relaxing, comfortable way possible. Unlike traditional analgesia used in the dental office, sleep dentistry allows patients to be in a more relaxed, sleep-like state during their treatment. This allows them to complete all of their necessary therapy in fewer visits, without the increased anxiety that some patients experience when seeing the dentist.
Sedation used during sleep dentistry may include oral sedative medication, or IV sedation. With oral sedation the prescription pill is taken an hour before the patient’s appointment. If needed, the patient may take a 2nd pill at the time of their procedure. The level of sedation allows the patient to enter into a light sleepy state, but the dentist can arouse them if it is necessary.
IV sedation may be used for patients that need a deeper level of sedation for their dental procedure. For these patients, they will be completely unaware of all treatment that is being performed until the dentist has cut off the supply of medication. The patient arouses from their sleepy state as if nothing has happened at all. A special certification is required for IV sedation, so be sure to ask your dentist if this is something that his or her office offers.
All sleep dentistry patients will need to be escorted by a friend or family member to and from their appointment. While the sleep medicine does usually wear off relatively soon, it is not appropriate for them to plan on driving themselves home from the office. If you have delayed dental treatment due to anxiety or discomfort, sleep dentistry may be the best answer to help you put your dental fears behind you!
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