Sleep Dentistry - A fix for the Dentally Nervous?
Should you be someone who doesn't like dental appointments- and I mean who REALLY doesn't like dental appointments, to the point of being highly anxious, phobic or panicked about them- maybe you have wondered whether there exists a way of having your dental treatment done without you needing to be aware of what's going on.
You will end up pleased to know that you will find options for people including yourself! Your dental care could be carried out in a Dentist's office while you are sedated using Intravenous Sedation within an appointment that is sometimes referred to as "Sleep Dentistry".
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It's important for you to know that "Sleep Dentistry" is really a misnomer- people seldom really drift off during a "Sleep Dentistry" appointment. However, a lot of people who receive "Sleep Dentistry" do have an experience that they will interpret as 'I was asleep for my dental work'. Let's see what that basically means...
"Intravenous Sedation" is a term that describes the procedure of giving sedative drugs to anyone through a vein. A line is set up into the vein, whereby a registered practitioner administers the sedative medications. The patient rapidly becomes drowsy and relaxed, and the dental treatment is done but they remain in this heavily sedated state. The sedatives used are strong, and do take several hours to wear off. However, people generally only need to remain under supervision within the dental office for a short period after their appointment. If they are sufficiently recovered to leave the dental office, they actually do so under the supervision associated with an adult family member or friend, who then needs to stay with them in your house until the effects of the sedation are completely gone.
This type of sedation can also be called 'Conscious Sedation' because the patient remains conscious at all times during the appointment (unlike a general anaesthetic where these are completely unconscious). Patients will often be so relaxed that they may doze off a little, if the dentist asks them something they are easily roused and will generally answer it.
You could be wondering how a conscious patient could ever refer to intravenous sedation as "Sleep Dentistry"?
The answer lies in one of the unwanted side effects of the sedative drugs which might be used: most patients undergoing intravenous sedation get each year some level of amnesia. They might remember arriving at the dentist, they may remember aspects of the trip home, nonetheless they seldom remember many details in any way about the dental treatment itself. As much as they are concerned, we were holding 'asleep' during the entire appointment- hence the description "Sleep Dentistry".
Intravenous Sedation for Dentistry isn't without risks, however your dentist will always discuss them you before you make your appointment. Only a well-trained and registered team of professionals can deliver this manner of sedation. It really is for this reason that only several Dental Practices ever offer this particular service. Your National Dental Association should be able to help you find an appropriately qualified and registered practice in your area.
Of course, intravenous sedation for dentistry won't cure a dental phobia or high dental anxiety. It does, however, provide an option for people who otherwise might not seek the dental treatment they might need, and knowing that it is available can make patients feel a lot more relaxed about ongoing dentistry.