Sleep Dentistry for Anxious Patients in Melbourne
Dental anxiety and fear are not only common in children but adults as well. Most older adults have had a traumatic experience with dental procedures in the past where pain management was not fully developed.
These patients might have intense fear with dentists and dental procedures where the usual numbing agent won’t be enough – this is when sleep dentistry becomes an option.
What is Dental Sedation?
Dental Sedation, also called conscious sedation, is a medical procedure which involves the administration of sedative drugs to alleviate a patient’s anxiety and proceed smoothly with the treatment needed to be done.
It allows a patient to undergo longer, more comprehensive treatments, like dental surgery, in a conscious dream-like state with little to no pain.
Over the years, dentistry has evolved from pulling a tooth without using any anaesthesia, to the use of dental sedation techniques such as an oral pill, nitrous oxide/laughing gas and IV sedation.
Sleep Dentistry is Ideal for You if:
You suffer intense anxiety just by visiting the dentist
You have low pain threshold and fear of needles
You have a strong gag reflex and feel like vomiting whenever an object touches the roof of your mouth, back of your tongue, or the area around your tonsils
You need to undergo complex or multiple treatments in one session such as multiple wisdom tooth removal
You have a medical condition such as autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease
Types of Dental Sedation We Use at Lifestyle Smiles
Oral Sedation is a more conservative approach to sedation, where you are prescribed anti-anxiety medication, similar to Valium. The components of the pill will bind to your brain’s pain receptors and eventually tone it down in a sense that you aren’t nervous. The oral pill is taken 60 minutes prior to your appointment and causes you to feel the calming effects a few minutes later.
IV Sedation is another type of conscious sedation where a sedative (Propofol or Fentanyl) is directly injected into the bloodstream by an anesthesiologist. If you’re afraid of needles, your dentist can use laughing gas to calm you before administering the sedative. During IV sedation, you remain conscious and will be able to respond to your dentist but feel a little groggy during and after the procedure.
I had my front teeth rebuilt by Dr Antonoff after suffering a serious accident almost a year ago. We were able to retain the original teeth without getting implants done. Dr Antonoff’s workmanship has been superb as noted by other dentists, which goes a long way to reinforce my positive experiences at this clinic. Highly recommended!
The Dental Sedation Process
Planning for your appointment
Prior to your appointment, you must prepare yourself or your child for dental sedation. The dentist might require you not to eat or drink, depending on what type of sedation you have chosen, as it can impose complications during the procedure.
It is recommended that you dress comfortably and wear loose-fitting clothing during your appintment to allow dental assistants to attach apparatuses that will monitor your vital statistics during the procedure.
During your dental sedation
During IV sedation, we will ensure your safety by closely monitoring blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate.
There are three different stages of conscious sedation which will vary depending on your requirements:
- Minimal Stage (Anxiolysis) is where you are relaxed but fully aware and responsive.
- Moderate Stage is when you are sleepy and may lose consciousness, but are still somewhat responsive.
- Deep Stage is when you will fall asleep and become unresponsive.
Dental sedation recovery
After IV Sedation, you may need to stay in the operating room or recovery room for an hour or more to closely monitor your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure until it comes back to normal values.
Bring a family member or a friend to accompany you going home or drive for you as you will not be allowed to drive in most cases. Take a day off work and avoid doing strenuous activities to recover quickly.
If your child is undergoing sleep dentistry, you will be asked to be present when they wake up as they may be feeling confused or nauseous afterwards.
Sleep Dentistry Costs
The average cost of sleep dentistry in Melbourne varies depending on the type of dental sedation, the dental procedure you’ll undergo, sedative drugs used (brand, dosage), and how long you’ll be sedated.
For extensive dental work requiring you to be awake, an anaesthetist or a dental sedationist may need to be called upon to provide a deeper level of IV sedation. For this level of treatment, the cost can range between $500 to $800 an hour, on top of your dental cost.
At Lifestyle Smiles we practise pain free dentistry to make you feel comfortable in every procedure you’ll undergo. We reserve providing dental sedation to patients that will undergo complex dental procedures and those with severe dental anxiety.
Call us or fill in our enquiry form below and book an appointment with us to further discuss which anxiety management best suits your needs!
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Sleep Dentistry FAQs
What does dental sedation feel like?
The effects of sedation differ from one person to another. Generally, you might feel drowsy and sleepy. And once the sedative takes effect, you’ll start to feel less anxious, calm, and relaxed. You may also feel a tingling sensation in your hands, arms, legs, and toes, which makes you feel like it’s hard to lift or move your limbs.
In cases of IV sedation, you will be in an induced sleep-like state where you can still hear some of what the dentist is saying and may respond but will be too sleepy to open your eyes or move.
What are the side effects of conscious sedation?
Dental sedation is generally safe, although you might experience some side effects that may last for a few hours after the procedure such as a feeling of sluggishness or tiredness, loss of memory of the procedure, a headache, low blood pressure, drowsiness.
What's the difference between conscious sedation and general aneasthesia?
With general anesthesia you are given larger doses of some of the same medications that are used in conscious sedation as well as additional medications such as general anesthetic gases and paralysing agents. While you remain awake during conscious sedation, when you are under general anaesthesia you become deeply unconscious to a level that your breathing must be maintained by a machine.
The additional medications used for general anesthesia can also cause post-operative nausea and vomiting in some cases, but this is avoided with conscious sedation.