You must be dreaming… How sleep dentistry can turn your dental nightmares into peaceful rest
Have you ever experienced a blissful dental visit? Probably not. Unless you have tried sleep dentistry. Though sleep dentistry is not new, it is still quite rare to find dental offices that perform true sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry is also called “twilight sleep” or I.V. sedation. All of these terms are used to define the same thing, but there are many ways of experiencing this type of dentistry. The most predictable, safe, and comfortable type is with the use of an I.V. in the arm or wrist. Other offices call their form of sedation by the same terms above, but use pills instead. Pills affect each person differently, and take a variable amount of time to take effect. Pills also do not allow for controlled comfort and have a limited time before the effect starts to wear off. These problems are overcome by the I.V. method. Be sure to ask beforehand what type of sedation you will be receiving.
The benefits of sleep dentistry are many. The obvious benefit is comfort, but the scope of sleep dentistry goes way beyond just comfort. One of the great benefits is going in just once to get all your dental work performed in that one visit, instead of making time for multiple visits on different days. This saves work time and the overall stress of visiting the dentist. Patients with a pronounced gag reflex benefit marvelously with sleep dentistry. Sometimes, just knowing that you will be “put to sleep” is enough to remove all pre-treatment anxiety, even days beforehand.
Probably the biggest advantage of sleep dentistry, besides comfort, is that you will have virtually no memory of the procedure. The medications used are great at making the visit feel as though it never happened, yet your dental work is complete. Also, mentally ill patients can be treated effectively with this method.
Here’s what you can expect when you schedule a visit for sleep dentistry. You will usually need to go in just so the dentist can see what is needed and schedule the appropriate time for the next visit. Many patients cannot tolerate x-rays without sedation due to a prominent gag reflex or other anxieties. Simply alert your dentist about your concerns. The visit can be to look only at your teeth visually, and gently, and so that you can get to know the dentist and staff. The dentist can take this time to review your medical history as well.
Before your treatment visit, you will need to wear something comfortable so that the bend in your arm, at the elbow, can be accessed for the I.V. Also, you should not have anything to eat or drink for four hours prior to your visit. If you take medication regularly, it’s okay to take your medication as usual with a little water. Lastly, you will need a ride readily available to take you home after the visit. Then, be prepared to find that going to the dentist can be a blissful experience!
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