dentist explains sleep dentistry vs sedation dentistry

For many patients, sleep dentistry vs sedation dentistry is often an interchangeable concept. However, sedation dentistry services apply each type of sedation differently, depending on various factors. In essence, sleep dentistry and sedation dentistry perform the same function: They help you relax during a dental procedure.

There are essentially four different types of sleep/sedation dentistry including, nitrous oxide, oral sedation (pill), IV sedation, and general anesthesia. Let’s look at each type more closely and compare sleep dentistry vs sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry

The purpose of sedation dentistry is to help you relax while the dentist does their job. What distinguishes sedation dentistry from sleep dentistry, is that you are not fully knocked out by the sedation. You may be fairly coherent or even remember some or all of the procedure.

However, you will not feel any pain or anxiety while the dentist works on your teeth. Sedation dentistry is safe and highly recommended if you have a fear of dentistry. There are two types of sedation dentistry including:

1. Inhaling Gas

The type of gas the dentist uses is nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”. You inhale the gas through your nose continuously throughout the procedure. The doctor can control how much gas you inhale. Since the effects of nitrous oxide wear off, you can drive after the session has concluded.

2. Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a great way to relax without the use of gas or an IV. You place a pill under your tongue and let it dissolve. Your dentist will administer the pill 60 minutes before your session begins. You will still be awake during treatment. However, you will be less aware of what is going on around you.

Sedation dentistry is perfect if you have mild anxiety toward dental services or have a higher threshold of pain. It is also ideal if you suffer from high gag reflex.

Sleep Dentistry

Specialty dental services often use sleep dentistry for more intense dental procedures. The only difference between sleep dentistry vs sedation dentistry is that you may fall into a deep sleep and be unconscious during the procedure. The only other difference is how the sedation is administered.

Like sedation dentistry, sleep dentistry is safe and easy to administer. There are two main types of sleep dentistry:

IV Sedation

During IV sedation, the dentist inserts an IV into your vein. IV sedation is the fastest type of sedation, putting you to sleep within seconds or minutes of the injection. You are completely asleep during the procedure and will not remember anything. IV sedation is ideal for longer procedures of two hours or more. You will not remember anything about the session.

General Anesthesia

Like IV sedation, general anesthesia will put you into a deep sleep within seconds of it being administered. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) will administer the anesthesia. If you have a severe dental phobia or a very low threshold of pain, then you may want to choose general anesthesia.

Sleep Dentistry vs Sedation Dentistry: Which is Right for You?

The type of dentistry that is right for you depends on several factors such as:

  • Your level of dental phobia
  • Your threshold of pain
  • If you have a gag reflex issue
  • How long you can sit in a dentist’s chair
  • How sensitive you are to dental work
  • Whether you want to remember the visit

To find out more about what dentistry is right for you, contact a dental office today. A treatment specialist can help you compare sleep dentistry vs sedation dentistry and choose which type of sedation is best for you.

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