Drills, needles, x-rays, excavators, forceps…It’s no wonder ‘sleep dentistry’, aka conscious sedation, is all the rage. Even with the friendliest, most talented doctor, going to the dentist can be truly terrifying. Thank heavens we have modern medicine practices to help us get through these dark times. But, what does ‘sleep dentistry’ really mean?
Sleep Dentistry and Conscious Sedation are one and the same. Both simply refer to the process of using sedation before a dental procedure. The oxymoron, ‘conscious sedation’, tends to be confusing, but it is the best way to describe the goal of the process. Ideally, the patient will be awake, but not so alert. Conscious sedation is meant to relax while insuring that the patient is still responsive.
Conscious sedation is the perfect solution for the dentist fearing and budget conscious. There are those that are so completely shaken by the idea of dental procedures that they think general anesthesia or complete avoidance of the dentist are their only options. If you are one of the many shaking in your boots at the thought of the masked doctor poking around in your mouth, then I implore you to consider ‘sleep dentistry’.
Types of Sedation
There are 3 types of conscious sedation, and then you have general anesthesia. The simple difference being that general anesthesia is the only sedation where you are completely unconscious. Let’s explore each degree of sedation one by one:
The lightest form of sedation is meant to keep you awake and alert, but to help you relax. Nitrous Oxide, better known as ‘laughing gas’ is the most common method to achieve a minimal sedation. In most cases you will be able to drive yourself home after the procedure without waiting too long for anything to wear off. If this is the only sedation you require to keep your cool, then my hat’s off to you!
While still awake during this procedure, it is unlikely that you will be very alert. This is for those who would rather be blissfully unaware of the procedure, but still be present for it. An oral sedation method is most common to get you to this happy middle ground.
There are different levels of deep sedation, but for our purposes we are discussing the conscious version of a deep sedation. This level of sedation can cause a patient to sleep, but not to become unconscious. This means that the patient is capable of being awakened before the drugs have worn off. Oral or IV medication is administered to make it all the way to this dreamy state.
General Anesthesia is technically a form of deep sedation, but in the unconscious category. It might seem like the easiest solution. I mean think about it, a quick little IV and then before you know it, you are waking up and the procedure is already finished? What a life! Regrettably, general anesthesia has its downfalls. An anesthesiologist is the only one qualified to administer the drug, and that comes at a price. Not to mention, in most cases that means scheduling at a surgical center rather than your local dentist. Seems like a lot of fuss for routine dental procedures. Best to talk to your dentist about getting you through your fears with a conscious sedation method.
Eagle Rock Dental Care proudly offers conscious sedation. We are here to help you get through your needed procedures safely and comfortably. Never be afraid to ask about your options! Your comfort is very important to us. Contact us to today to see what we offer for your specific needs. And don’t forget that you can jump on our website at any time to request an appointment!