Sleep Dentistry is a technique used in dentistry to perform procedures on patients who are scared of the dental procedures and are having difficulty staying calm while undergoing the dental treatment. Patients may have been avoiding dental treatment for many years owing to their fear and anxiety and when patients talk about their fears, the dentists may oft for procedures under the effect of certain sedatives which is also known as sleep dentistry.
If you are one of those who have had a dental problem all your life because of fears but have always been hesitant to go to a dentist, sleep dentistry is the best choice for you. If you have heard about sleep dentistry for the very first time, read on for more information about what is sleep dentistry and some good to know information around it.
What are the Different Types of Sleep Dentistry?
Sleep Dentistry involves the use of sedatives which can either be oral or intravenous or even gaseous. Let us look at the various ways in which the sleep dentistry sedatives are given or administered:
- In this technique oral sedatives are used for making the patient sleep. In Oral Sedation a higher dose of Temazepam or Triazolam (Halcion) can be used. Oral sedation can either be used as an alternative to IV sedation or prepare the patient for Intravenous sedation. In Oral sedation, though the level of sedation is lighter it may not be as reliable as intravenous sedation.
IV Sedation or Twilight Conscious Sedation:
- In this type of sedation, the patient is first administered some drugs such as Valium orally so that they can relax after which the drug is known as Midazolam is administered intravenously. The amount of Midazolam needed is based on the weight of the patient and once optimum sedation levels are achieved the drug is stopped. Midazolam is also at times administered in combination with opioids such as Fentanyl or Propofol if the general IV sedation does not work.
Laughing Gas (Nistrous Oxide):
- This is a technique that is not so common in dentistry. This technique required Nitrous Oxide to be administered to the patients which helps them laugh and relax and get free from anxiety. However, this is just a prep technique to get the patient ready for the dental procedure and he may have to be administered other sedatives when undergoing the procedure.
- This is a technique that was once a popular method for almost all major surgery procedures which is however now discouraged owing to its risks. It requires a specialist anaesthesiologist who determines if the patient is fit and healthy enough to receive anaesthesia, weighs the pros and the cons of the procedure and only then proceeds with the anaesthesia. During this procedure, the patient will be asleep during the entire procedure and will be in a state of unconsciousness. Only once the procedure is complete the anesthesiologist and the support team helps you to emerge again from anaesthesia.
Is Conscious Sedation Hurtful?
General Anaesthesia or IV sedation is also known as conscious sedation and it is not a very hurtful procedure. The drugs used in IV or General Anaesthesia are usually used in appropriate concentrations to ensure the patient’s safety. These procedures may lead to short term memory loss and it helps the patients recover faster as they have little or no memory of the dental procedure.
What are the Costs Involved in Sleep Dentistry?
Depending on the type of sedation technique used and the number of drugs or sedatives used, the cost of sleep dentistry may vary. General Anaesthetic sleep dentistry is the most expensive of all as it involves the cost of employing a special anaesthetist for the procedure. IV sedation needs a trained nurse along with an anaesthesia specialist that makes it even more expensive. Though we do not have the exact figures, a unit of anaesthesia is around $20 as per the Medicare Benefits Schedule. You can check more on the Anaesthesia pricing here. Then there may be a facility fee for the whole procedure.
Using laughing gas costs around $88 every half hour which is used pre and post-recovery. Oral sedation does not cost any additional fees other than the consultation charges. One very common anti-anxiety and pain control medication used goes by the name of Penthrox which is also known as a green whistle. The prices may vary as per the dental care provider you chose and the prices here are indicative.
Is Anaesthesia safe?
General Anaesthesia is administered by a specialist known as an Anaesthetist who is a registered anaesthesiology practitioner and works for multiple hospitals and dental centres on a need to be the basis. This anaesthetist and his staff who is usually a nurse are responsible for the safety of the patient. The anaesthetist and his staff monitors the patient throughout the procedure and ensure that their cough and swallow reflexes are active so that patient can cough and swallow during the procedure. As such anaesthetic procedures, in general, are safe.
Treatments that can be Done Using Sleep Dentistry
The treatments that can be done using sleep dentistry include but are not limited to the following:
- Advanced tooth extractions and removals
- Dentistry involving implants.
- Fixing crowns, bridges, etc.
- Orthodontic and other surgeries.
- Advanced gum treatment and surgery.
The administration of sleep dentistry procedures and drugs depends on the patient as well as their health and medical history as well.
Who Can Opt for Sleep Dentistry?
Depending on the health and the medical history of the patients, anyone starting from 16 years to as old as 85 years can opt for sleep dentistry procedures. Patients who have not been able to get their procedures done due to fear can opt for sleep dentistry. It also is a great help for patients who have been battling fear and anxiety in general and can help them cope up with it better.
Benefits of Doing Dental Procedures Under Sleep Dentistry
Last but not least let us quickly point out the benefits of sleep dentistry:
- Treatment completed in one appointment as the treatment time is longer.
- No or little memory of the procedure that helps the patient recover well.
- Painless procedures – all procedures and surgeries are painless as the patient is asleep during the procedure.
- Safely done under the supervision of experts.
So with little or no pain, you gain something for a change. You get your natural and perfect teeth and smile back. So go for that dental surgery you have always been waiting for with a smile. Book an appointment here at eDental Perth today!