• Have You Heard of Sleep Dentistry?

    on Mar 21st, 2018

We do all we can at Signature Smiles to keep your smile healthy and bright. Our commitment to our patients includes helping you feel relaxed and comfortable when you come to our office. If you’re overly anxious about the dentist or find it hard to sit still throughout the process, we can use sleep dentistry to calm your nerves and ensure your visit here is positive.

What it is

Also known as sedation dentistry, sleep dentistry is a branch of dental care that provides medication to help you relax during an in-office procedure. To meet the American Dental Association’s standards, your dentist must undergo specialized training to offer sleep dentistry services. Our board-certified, oral health experts at Signature Smiles are well-equipped to provide safe and effective sedation for a wide variety of procedures.

Who should try it

Not everyone needs it, but sleep dentistry is beneficial for patients who avoid dental care because of fear or phobias regarding the dentist. More than a nagging anxiousness about seeing your dentist, this elevated level of anxiety can keep you from obtaining the services you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy. When you put off seeing the dentist until pain from a cavity or other issue outweighs your fear, the treatment is typically much more complicated than if we’d caught the condition early.

It’s also very helpful for children who are scared to come to the office and for any patient who has a tough time sitting still for an exam or treatment. Whether you’re undergoing a complicated repair or a routine cleaning, we encourage you to talk to us about sleep dentistry, if you’re struggling with significant anxiety about seeing your dentist.

And while we still use local anesthesia to numb the affected area, sedation dentistry is helpful if you have a low pain threshold or excessively sensitive teeth. It can also help time go faster if you’re undergoing a lengthy procedure.   

Customizing sleep dentistry

We can customize your sedation to maximize its benefits. We may, for instance, recommend minimal sedation with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to keep you wide awake, but relaxed, throughout your experience in “the chair.” The effects of the gas wear off quickly, and you can typically drive yourself home afterward.

Depending on your circumstance, we may suggest oral sedation instead and can adjust the dose and type of medication to provide minimal to moderate relaxation. You may feel a bit groggy or even nap throughout the procedure but remain easily aroused. Because you might feel sleepy for several hours after taking oral medication, we recommend you make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

Another option for sleep dentistry is intravenous (IV) sedation, which is delivered via a small needle directly into your vein. This type of moderate sedation works much faster than oral sedation, which may take 30-60 minutes to become effective. It also allows your dentist to adjust your medication dose as necessary throughout the treatment.  

Keeping it safe

We only use FDA-approved sedation aids, and we carefully review your medical history and medication list beforehand. This helps us ensure the medication we administer doesn’t affect your overall health or interfere with your current prescriptions. Depending on your circumstance, we may also ask for further information from your physician before you undergo sedation dentistry.

As part of their professional training, our providers are equipped to carefully monitor your blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other responses to sedation throughout your dental procedure. This adds an extra layer of protection to what’s considered an overall safe and effective therapy.

If you’d like to experience all the benefits of a healthy smile but struggle with excessive anxiety over dental procedures, sleep dentistry can help. Call Signature Smiles today for an appointment or book your visit online to learn more about sleep dentistry and what it can do for you.

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