Terrified at the thought of the dentist chair? You are not alone. Millions of Americans experience anxiety and panic at the thought of a dental exam. Fortunately, sleep dentistry exists to soothe patients through many types of procedures.
Types of Sleep Dentistry
Dental procedures range from short, simpler procedures like a tooth extraction to more complex ones such as a root canal. Accordingly, patients vary in the extent of sedation they require. The 4 basic types of sedation or sleep dentistry are:
Minimal Sedation — Laughing Gas
Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is the simplest form of sedation. A mask is placed on your face, and you breathe a combination of the gas and oxygen while the dentist works on your teeth.
The gas relaxes you and the dentist controls how long and how much of the nitrous oxide you receive. This form of sedation is the only method where you may have the ability drive home after the procedure.
Minimal Moderate Sedation – Pills
For a slightly deeper level of sedation, dentists prescribe pills to be taken orally before a procedure. Halcion, a variation of Valium, is the most commonly used medication.
Patients become drowsy and possibly fall asleep with this medication, depending on the dose. The dentist can easily nudge the patient awake once the exam is complete.
Moderate Sedation – IV
Many patients will not achieve a deep enough sleep with just an oral sedative. Dentists treat these patients with an intravenous or “IV” supply of a sedative. Typically these medications belong to the “benzodiazepines” family of drugs.
The dentist controls how much of this medication you receive in your vein depending on your age, weight, and the type of procedure performed.
Surgical Sedation – Anesthesia
Some procedures take 7-8 hours to complete and require intricate handiwork by the dentist. These dental procedures are treated like any other surgery, and you require anesthesia to be fully asleep.
Oral surgeons and anesthesiologists complete extensive training and certifications in order to administer this type of sedation. A patient cannot be awakened with this sedation until the medication has worn off.
If your child or teenager has dental fears ADA has put together a list of questions for dentists Questions to Ask Your Dentist about Anesthesia and Sedation for Your Child. Sleep Dentistry is reasonably safe for patients af all ages.
Dentist in Los Angeles
At New Image Dental, our slogan is “We cater to cowards.” We know how intimidating a dental exam or procedure can be. Schedule a visit at our Los Angeles dental office and we’ll make sure that you have all the options you need to tackle your exam with ease.