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Sedation Dentistry – The 2022 Guide To Sleep Dentistry

Excerpt: Lots of people experience everything from uneasiness to crippling panic attacks at the dentist depending on how bad their phobia can be.
Table of Contents

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry uses different dosages and types of drugs to put the patient into a relaxed state. In most cases, the patient is not usually, "sleeping", despite it being referred to as, "sleep dentistry".

Lots of people experience everything from uneasiness to crippling panic attacks at the dentist depending on how bad their phobia can be. Some people can put off going to the dentist for months, or years depending on how severe the anxiety is. This will only make things more difficult for both the dentist and the patient, as dental problems generally tend to only get worse over time if they are not treated.

Patient having mouth examined

Are there different levels of Sedation Dentistry?

Only the most minimal amount of sedatives will be used to achieve the desired effect. These drugs are powerful and are treated with much care and respect by our dental clinics.

Minimal Sedation

Being awake but relaxed.

Moderate Sedation

Being able to remember the procedure but you may be slightly dizzy during or after.

Deep Sedation

Being held at the edge of the consciousness but you are still awake.

General Anesthesia

Being completely unconscious.

Sedation Dentistry - The 2022 Guide To Sleep Dentistry - 2 - Smiles Dental Group

What Types Of Sedatives Are Used In Sleep Dentistry?

Inhaled Minimum Sedation

The dentist will administer nitrous oxide, also known as, “laughing gas”. The effect will have a short duration. You may be able to drive home afterward with nitrous oxide (we do recommend you organize a ride though, just to be safe).

Oral Sedation

The dose may be strong enough to be considered, “moderate”, depending on what is needed. The drug given will usually be, “Halcion”, which is in the same family as, “Valium”.

IV Moderate Sedation

This is a stronger, quicker-acting, sedative. You will receive the drug directly into your bloodstream through an IV.

Deep Sedation

You will either be asleep completely, or almost unconscious. The effects are very strong with deep sedation, we highly recommend you organized a ride home afterward and take 12-24 hours after the operation to sleep and recover. You should never operate a vehicle or heavy machinery for 12-24 hours after going through deep sedation.
Sedation Dentistry - The 2022 Guide To Sleep Dentistry - 2 - Smiles Dental Group

Who Needs Sleep Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry isn’t for everyone, and it is generally used only when absolutely needed. The most common reason dentists use sedation is for anxious patients.

Other common causes for sedation may (but not always) include patients who:

  • Have a low pain threshold
  • Have Trouble sitting still due to discomfort or other possible inflictions
  • Have highly sensitive teeth
  • Have a bad gag reflex
  • Have lots of dental work to be done
  • Are children
For younger patients or those who may be prone to distraction, a dental clinic will often set up TVs in the operating room so the patients will have something to focus on other then the dental work. This can remove the need for sedation, and may promote a more optimistic view of the dentist in the patient’s opinion.

Who Can Perform Sedation Dentistry

Most general dentists have the training to administer the sedative and perform the operation will the patient is under, this will be typical for anything considered moderate, or less than deep. Depending on what method and state are used, the dentist may need different certifications to perform that specific operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s incredibly safe, we hold our dentists to high-standards and we know that our sedation methods are as safe as they can be!

Minimal may leave you awake, but “groggy”, or “dizzy”. With moderate sedation, you may feel very drowsy, and may even fall asleep. With sedation, you will most likely be asleep.

You may be able to if you were only minimally sedated. However, we recommend you arrange for transportation if you can, just to be safe. For moderate, and deep sedation, you won’t be able to drive afterward.

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