Been feeling anxious about dental treatment? You’re not the only one. In fact, the majority of American adults have some level of dental anxiety. While not every patient’s nerves are debilitating, some are. And the fact that any of our patients may not be happy in our office led Cherry Creek Dentistry to seek out a better solution.
That’s why our practice offers dental sedation. While you’re probably familiar with some forms of dental sedation (like nitrous oxide / laughing gas), you may not have experienced sleep sedation in the past. That’s because not every dental practice offers this special option. But if you’re interested in a dental experience that will help you overcome long-standing anxiety, then sleep sedation is the right choice.
Uncertain about what the sedation process may entail? Just read on for a discussion of what lies in store.
How Does Denver Sleep Sedation Work?
You experience anxiety when your nervous system reacts to alarming stimuli. This can be something around you (like the sights and sounds of the dentist’s office), or just the prospect of seeing those sights and sounds in the near future.
Sedation offers you medication that will calm your biological responses to things that typically cause nervousness. It’s more easily controlled than some other forms of sedation (like oral conscious), and more intense than others (like nitrous oxide). You receive an IV prior to treatment, and this supplies you with a mild sedative. Once treatment has ended, the IV will be removed.
While you are sedated, you are supplied with oxygen to ensure clear, unobstructed breathing. This is a safety precaution, because breathing may slow during sedation. Your dentist will also monitor your vital signs, since twilight sedation can lead to a drop in blood pressure. We will do whatever necessary to ensure your safety.
Twilight/sleep sedation not only calms you in the moment, it also helps stop you from forming new memories during the sedation period. This allows you to make it through treatment without remembering it as a negative experience. In fact, sleep sedation also helps patients overcome crippling anxiety, by allowing them to build new, positive associations with the dentist’s office.
Am I Actually Asleep During Treatment?
While “sleep” sedation suggests that patients are unconscious during treatment, this is actually not how the medication works. You may have noticed us refer to it as twilight sedation earlier – this is because it places you in a twilight state, somewhere between falling sleep and being fully awake. You are aware of what’s happening around you, and also able to talk to your dentist. But you feel completely calm, and may actually fall asleep at some point during the process.
After sleep sedation, you will need to be driven home by a friend or family member – it won’t be safe for you to transport yourself. You will feel groggy for the rest of the day, and should abstain from alcohol. By the next morning, you’ll be back to normal.
Is This the Right Sedation Method For Me?
Sleep sedation isn’t necessary for every anxious patient. It’s typically something we recommend for patients with intense fear of the office, or highly sensitive teeth / gag reflexes. Sleep sedation does offer a more pleasant procedure, but it also comes with a longer recovery period (so patients can’t return to work straight after treatment).
That said, if dentistry is very uncomfortable for you, then sleep sedation could be the best bet. Get in touch with Cherry Creek Dentistry to learn more about the process, the cost, and the preparation necessary.