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Reasons Why You Should Undergo Sleep Dentistry

Reasons Why You Should Undergo Sleep Dentistry

Many people have an irrational fear of going to the dentist. This leads to avoiding going to the dentist unless you are in so much pain there is no choice. You will go through all sorts of discomfort and a lot of pain to avoid the dentist’s chair. But your health is important. You need to beat that fear and nervousness to keep your health on track.

No longer do you have to avoid the dentist because of fear and anxiety. There are solutions. ProSmiles offer sleep dentistry at their clinics in Melbourne where you can have dental procedures without fear or stress.

Sleep dentistry is a procedure some dental surgeries use to help you relax so they can do the dental work needed. It relieves stress, nervousness, and fear while in the dentist’s chair. Fear of the dentist can come from:

  • Traumatic past experiences
  • Fear of needles
  • Stress about the treatment
  • Sensitive gums and teeth
  • Discomfort because of the sounds and smell of a dental surgery.

All this can now be overcome using sleep dentistry.

What is sleep dentistry?

A dentist who offers sleep dentistry gives you a choice of medication to help you relax while receiving treatment. While it is called sleep dentistry, or sedation dentistry, this is not strictly true unless you have a general anaesthetic. You will still be awake during the procedure, but the medication helps alleviate your fear and anxiety. There are different levels of sedation including:

  • Minimal sedation where you are still awake but feel relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation where you are still awake. But you may slur your words when speaking, but you may not remember much of what happened while in the dentist chair.
  • Deep sedation where you are barely conscious and awaken easily.
  • General anaesthetic when you are in a deep sleep.

Different types of sedation

What type of sedation you receive depends on your needs. Here is some information about the different types to help you make a decision. But talk to your dentist about your anxiety and get their advice as well.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a pill you take an hour before the procedure. It depends on the dose on whether the sedation is light or moderate. Many people opt for moderate sedation. This is where they are still awake but will not remember much about the procedure. People often fall asleep with oral sedation but will wake when given a gentle shake.

Nitrous Oxide

When you only have a low level of anxiety, the dentist will use nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas. This will make you extremely relaxed while the dentist works on your mouth. The dentist places a mask over your nose, and a mixture of gas and oxygen flows through it. The dentist can control how much you receive during the procedure. It does not take long to wear off after the dentist finishes and stops administering the gas. You can usually drive home afterwards.

Intravenous sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation is fast working. The dentist administers the drug straight into your bloodstream using a needle. It is an efficient and safe way to help people with acute anxiety. The medication controls the pain while you receive dental treatment.

While sedated, you will experience a deep state of relaxation. You may or may not remember the procedure when the sedative wears off. You remain conscious during the procedure but will have limited ability to speak.

A qualified anaesthetist administers the IV sedation. There will be a nurse present as well to monitor your vital signs. They will check your heart rate, oxygen levels in your bloodstream, blood pressure, and breathing. This is to ensure you remain safe while the dentist is working on your teeth.

Once the dentist finishes the work, a registered nurse cares for you in a recovery room until you are ready to leave. You will need someone with you to take you home. You will not be capable of driving. They should stay with you for the next 24 hours as a safety precaution.

Why opt for sleep dentistry?


There are many reasons to opt for sleep dentistry if you avoid the dentist because of anxiety. Here are some reasons why you should talk to your dentist about this option.

Relax in the dentist’s chair

Visiting the dentist is not one of the favourite things people have to do. Dental procedures can take a long time. You may be prone to feeling stiff and sore when sitting for so long having your treatment. Sedation helps you relax during the procedure both emotionally and physically. You will leave the dentist feeling more relaxed than when you first arrived after it is all over.

Quality of care

While sedated, you are still conscious and can follow the dentist’s requests. If you are prone to reacting by pulling your head away or moving around while being worked on, this will help. It will relax you enough, so you stay still while keeping you and the dentist safe. It also speeds up the process as there is no small talk and you are not moving around. This way the dentist can concentrate on what they are doing. The dentist completes the work quicker their patient sedated. Because you are still conscious, you can let the dentist know you feel pain at any time.

Sedation lowers your stress levels. In fact, you probably will not care all that much about what is going on. That is, of course, unless you feel pain.

Cuts down time at the dentist

People often put off getting dentistry work done they need because of the time it takes. Often you have to sit in the dentist chair for hours. But sedation makes it much easier to tolerate the long hours of completing the dental procedures you need. Instead of coming back time and time again to get all the work done, you can get it done in a couple of sessions when under sedation. What takes hours to complete will feel to you like only a few minutes.

Painless dental procedure

When you have sedation before the dentist starts work, you forget all about pain and being anxious. Sleep dentistry helps to make a dental visit painless. There is nothing better than going to the dentist and receiving painless dental care.

Encourages regular dental visits

When opting to use sleep dentistry, you will not mind visiting the dentist. It wipes out all fear and anxiety, so you feel better about looking after your teeth. It helps people visit the dentist regularly to care of their teeth.

Can all dentists use sleep dentistry?

Can all dentists perform sleep dentistry?

Yes, they can but they have to become accredited to use some types of sedation. Any dentist can administer nitrous oxide and oxygen. Either on its own or combined with a local anaesthetic as long as the patient does is not in a conscious state of sedation. Dentists need accreditation from the Dental Board if they are putting patients into a conscious state of sedation. This includes using IV sedation in patients.

How safe is sleep dentistry?

The only risk with sleep dentistry is administering the anaesthetic. While it is safe, an experienced professional must administer it. If you are obese or have obstructive sleep apnoea, talk to your doctor. The anaesthetic can cause other complications in people with these conditions. So, you need to talk to your healthcare professional about this before opting for sedation

What is important is that you do you research. Make sure the dentist is fully qualified and accredited to use these types of methods in their practice. Before opting for sleep dentistry make sure the following are completed before the procedure:

  • Your dentist should go through your medical history before the procedure. This is to determine whether sleep dentistry is the best thing for you or not. They should also ask you what types of medications you are currently taking.
  • Ask the dentist about the size of the dose and whether it falls within the accepted guidelines set out by the Australian Dental Board.
  • Talk to the dentist about their training in the procedure. Also ask how much experience they have using sleep dentistry. The more the dentist has used the procedure the better.
  • You will receive a form letting you know about the risks of the procedure. Talk to your dentist about it and ask questions if you need to know more.
  • Dentists must monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure. There should also be oxygen and drugs readily available to reverse the sedation if required.

Now you know all this, there is no reason to avoid going to the dentist. You can visit the dentist with confidence knowing there are alternatives available to make the whole process easier.

Contact us today

If you require sleep dentistry, contact ProSmiles today!

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