Many people are nervous about going to the dentist, especially if they have not visited in a long time. While you might not have full-blown dentophobia (a phobia of the dentist), the thought of undergoing certain procedures might make you apprehensive, which is actually perfectly common!

Sleep dentistry helps calm down even the most uncomfortable of patients and allows them to relax or even fall asleep, allowing our dentists to focus on the procedure and treatment. This procedure is performed by qualified anaesthetists.

Sleep dentistry is also known in the industry as sedation dentistry, and involves putting patients under sedation or nitrous oxide. Read on to find out more about the different types of sleep dentistry!

Conscious Sedation

This is a method usually recommended for extremely nervous patients, and involves having the sedative administered intravenously into your bloodstream. This puts the patient under “conscious sedation”, which is a state between wakefulness and sleep.

You might not be fully asleep, but you will have limited awareness of the treatment being administered. Being roused from conscious sedation is fairly easy, and there are few lingering effects from this method of sedation.

However, we recommend avoiding driving, operating heavy machinery, and consuming alcohol for the next 24 to 48 hours, just to be safe!

sleep dentistry

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a mild sedative that is inhaled through a nosepiece during the procedure. Despite the fact that the effects of nitrous oxide are mild, most patients start to feel its effects very quickly.

Nitrous oxide is a gas that is colourless and slightly sweet-smelling, and it induces a sense of relaxation and euphoria in patients. This helps relax patients enough to make certain procedures less uncomfortable.

While inhaling nitrous oxide, you will still be conscious. Most patients report feeling calm, and as a mild sedative, it also slows down the body’s reaction time. Occasionally, some patients experience tingling in their limbs and light-headedness.

However, once the supply of nitrous oxide has been stopped, the feeling of relaxation and euphoria wears off just as quickly. Most patients are able to resume day-to-day activities with no lingering effects after undergoing a procedure with nitrous oxide.

Local Anaesthesia

The above methods can be compared to local anaesthesia, which is the most common method dentists use on patients. Using local anaesthesia involves injecting an anaesthetic solution directly into your gums, and is a procedure that sounds scarier than it actually is!

Depending on the dental treatment the patient has to undergo, the anaesthetic can be either injected into a small area of your mouth or used to numb a large region, such as your left cheek and gums.

Most simple procedures can be carried out under local anaesthesia, such as wisdom tooth extraction and teeth whitening. However, if you are concerned about experiencing pain during procedures such as root canal or veneer bonding, please feel free to send us an enquiry! We are always happy to answer any questions you have and put misconceptions to rest.