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What is sleep or sedation dentistry

It is common for patients to feel anxious before their dental visits, which is why sleep or sedation dentistry is used to make patients feel more at ease during their appointments. Dentistry under sleep or sedation can help alleviate any fear or anxiety about needles, smells, noises, or pain associated with dental care. Sleep or sedation can help you relax in the dentist’s chair.

Dentistry under sedation involves helping a patient relax during a dental treatment using medication, and while it is sometimes known as sleep dentistry, patients are usually awake during the experience, except those under general anaesthesia. Several types of sedation are available for dental procedures, ranging from mild to heavy sedation. The sedation level will depend on the treatment being performed and the individual.

Who is a candidate for sedation?

There are several occasions where sedation might be recommended, including a dentist phobia to a sensitive gag reflex, and during

more time-consuming procedures. Sedation is generally suitable for people who:

• Dislike the dentist due to past bad experiences

• Have a sensitive gag reflex

• Struggle to keep their mouth open or sit still in the dentist’s chair for extended periods

• Are afraid of going to the dentist

• Have difficulty achieving the desired effects of local anaesthetic

• Have complicated dental requirements or are undergoing a long procedure

• Have a low pain threshold

• Have sensitive teeth and gums

Your dentist will be able to determine whether sedation is right for you depending on your circumstances. Types of sedation

There are several types of sedation used for dental treatments that range from mild to heavy sedatives, which can be inhaled, taken orally, or injected.

General anaesthesia

We can do GA (General Anaesthesia in our practice and will need to be booked in advance as we will need to have the Anaesthetist book in as well) is injected in the arm or hand by a registered anaesthetist. It is used to heavily sedate patients who are woken up once the procedure is finished.

General anaesthesia is a good option for those who have a high level of anxiety surrounding dental procedures, patients who have difficulty keeping their mouth open, patients who struggle with sitting still for long periods of time, and patients who have a low pain threshold.

IV sedation - moderate

Moderate sedation is achieved by injecting a sedative medication that makes a patient feel relaxed but doesn’t make them fall asleep. Patients often don’t remember any details of their procedure but are still able to follow the dentist’s instructions during the procedure. This can be performed by a professional dentist in a dental practice. IV sedation is ideal for those who are anxious and don’t wish to remember their treatment.

Inhaled sedation - minimal

Inhaled sedation, also known as laughing gas, provides a feeling of relaxation and happiness. This form of sedation is commonly used because it can be administered in doses depending on the patient and takes only minutes to take effect. Recovery is quick. Inhaled sedation is a great solution for patients who experience minor anxiety surrounding dental procedures.

Anti-anxiety medication through inhalation - green stick

Anti-anxiety medication through inhalation, also known as the green stick, helps to encourage relaxation and relieve anxiety in patients.

It is safe for everyone to use, even children and pregnant women, and is ideal for patients who are experiencing minor anxiety before their procedure.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation is taken in pill form and helps to relieve anxiety. Patients usually remain awake during the procedure and are able to follow the dentist’s instruction, but won’t often remember much of the treatment and will be drowsy. Patients will not be able to drive after taking oral sedation because of the drowsiness effect.

Oral sedation is ideal for patients who experience minor anxiety about their procedure but don’t have to drive themselves home. Is sedation dentistry safe?

Receiving anaesthesia and other sedatives has its risks, just like any other procedure, however, it is a generally safe practice when performed by an experienced dentist and registered anaesthetist.

There are only a few occasions where sedation can carry a risk of complications, such as if the patient is obese or has obstructive sleep apnoea. It is important to discuss any health problems with your dentist before the procedure. During your pre-

treatment consultation you and your dentist should:

• Determine which type of sedation and what dose is best for you

• Discuss your medical history to determine whether you’re a candidate for sedation, including any medicine you’re taking

• Read through any and all information given to you during the consultation regarding risks and ask your dentist for

clarification on anything you don’t understand

Avoiding anxiety

It is important to us at Magical Smiles that our patients have the most comfortable dental experience possible and we aim to alleviate any anxiety that may be felt.

Children often learn this anxiety from one bad experience or from their parents. Using sedation and anaesthesia on young patients for paediatric dentistry means they won’t be aware of the procedure and will lessen the chance for children to acquire a phobia. If a child develops a phobia of the dentist it can prevent them from seeking dental care in the future, to their detriment.

Faster treatments

Sedation at Magical Smiles is common for patients who may be too busy to attend multiple dental appointments, and wish to undertake their dental procedures in one session. This approach also eliminates the fatigue and boredom of long sessions. Our dental providers are often able to complete entire treatment plans in one sitting using sedation. Sedation techniques may also be used for patients undergoing advanced oral surgery or those with certain medical needs that require them to be supervised by a medical specialist.

Speak to our Melbourne clinic to see whether sedation is right for you.

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