Are you *really* scared of going to the dentist?
Like sweaty-palms-pounding-heart-anxiety-through-the-roof scared?
You’re not alone.
Many of the patients we see at our Gregory Hills and Moss Vale dental practices experience severe anxiety during dentist appointments. Some even have a complete dental phobia. An extreme fear of the dentist can make even the most routine check-ups feel like a nightmare. And it can stop you from booking appointments altogether, putting your oral health at serious risk.
But what if there was a way you could visit the dentist… without really ‘being there’?
Sounds like a dream, right?
With sleep dentistry, it is!
Sleep dentistry (also known as sedation dentistry) allows even the most anxious patients to get the care they need while peacefully under sedation.
Now, we know going under any kind of sedation can seem daunting — especially if you’ve never experienced it before. You’ll likely have a few questions about how sedation works, how much sleep dentistry costs and what to expect. To help put your mind at ease, we’ve put together this article on everything you need to know about sleep dentistry.
Psst… If you want more personalised advice on whether sleep dentistry is right for you and the best type of sedation to suit your needs, come in and see us for a sedation consultation. Easily book online now in just a few clicks!
What is sleep dentistry?
Sleep dentistry refers to any dental procedure that is carried out while the patient is under sedation. It involves the use of sedatives and/or anaesthesia to help reduce the pain, anxiety and fear associated with dental treatments. Sedation works by slowing down your central nervous system, leading you to feel relaxed and drowsy. Some types of sedation also reduce your awareness of and reaction to external stimuli, such as the sound and feeling of dental tools.
What are the different types of dental sedation?
At Green Door Dental, we offer a few different types of sedation, including IV sedation. To determine which type of sedation is right for you, you’ll need to book a consultation appointment so we can discuss your needs.
IV sedation (or twilight sedation)
Twilight sedation is administered via an intravenous (IV) drip into your hand or arm. It involves a controlled dose of sedative, anaesthetic and pain relief medications. Once IV sedation takes effect, you’ll feel extremely relaxed and sleepy — some patients may even fall asleep. Under twilight sedation, you’ll still technically be ‘awake’ and somewhat aware of your surroundings, but you won’t be as reactive to what is going on around you. You’ll also be given a local anaesthetic so you won’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Due to its amnesic effect, you’ll feel like barely any time has passed when you ‘wake up’ from twilight sedation — even if you’ve undergone a major 3-hour procedure.
How is twilight IV sedation different to general anaesthesia?
With twilight sedation, patients are put into a sleep-like state but remain conscious and responsive during their procedure. Under general anaesthesia (GA), patients are completely unconscious for their entire treatment and it can take a few hours for the patient to become fully responsive again afterwards. Twilight sedation is considered to be safer than GA, with fewer side effects and a faster recovery time. It also costs less and can be administered outside of a hospital.
Liquid oral sedation
At Green Door Dental, we use Midazolam. This liquid form of sedation is taken orally at our practice one hour prior to your treatment. It can be used for both routine appointments, such as dental fillings, and more complex procedures like wisdom teeth removals and dental implants. Much like twilight sedation, Midazolam is a form of conscious sedation where you’ll be awake but very relaxed, drowsy and unconcerned about what is happening during your procedure.
Another type of sedation we use at our dental practice is Penthrox — also known as ‘the green whistle’. If you’ve ever watched Bondi Rescue or paramedic shows, you’ll have seen the green whistle in action before! This form of sedation provides rapid-onset analgesia (or pain relief). It is hand-held and allows patients (including children) to self-administer the level of sedation through inhalation — under supervision, of course.
Remember to phone a friend!
If you have any form of dental sedation, you will need to arrange for a responsible adult, such as a partner, family member or friend, to pick you up and take you home after your procedure. You will not be able to drive yourself.