For some of us, nothing conjures up fear and panic quite like the thought of a trip to the dentist. The smell of the waiting room, the sound of the drill, the sight of the chair can be enough to trigger a deep-seated phobia that may be the result of a bad experience as a child. Maybe it’s not the dentist itself that sends a shiver up your spine, but a phobia of needles. Or maybe it’s as simple as a feeling that a trip to the dentist is nothing but pain.
In spite of these phobias, people often put their fear aside and make the dreaded trip out of the knowledge that it is something that just has to be done. It doesn’t matter how frightened you are, that decay simply won’t fix itself—the pain won’t stop until that root canal has been performed.
But, what if you can’t push past the fear? What if it is so overwhelming that you delay your trip to the dentist? Or, worse still, never go at all? You could be putting your oral health in danger and turning minor problems into an enormous catastrophe.
If you’re someone that has been putting off a trip to the dentist, then perhaps you should consider sleep dentistry.
What is Sleep Dentistry All About?
To put it simply, sleep dentistry works in the same way that general anaesthetic works. The main difference is that the levels of sedation and pain relief are adjusted in order to suit the needs of the procedure. For instance, if you need a root canal, you won’t be put into the same level of sedation as you would for open-heart surgery or an organ transplant. You will, however, be sedated enough to avoid all of the things that you make you hate the dentist so much.
During sleep dentistry, you’ll be placed into a state of sedation called ‘twilight sleep’, or ‘conscious sedation,’ which is a state very similar to dream sleep, where you feel completely relaxed and calm. This is achieved by using an advanced form of intravenous sedation, which is comprised of a combination of pain-relief medicines and sedatives. In this state, you won’t hear any drills, you won’t feel any pinching and prodding inside your mouth and you won’t see that big, bright light hovering over the top of you.
Is Sleep Dentistry Safe?
It is absolutely safe and no different from the local anaesthetic you would receive in a hospital environment. An experienced anaesthetist will carry out the procedure and have you hooked up to all the monitoring equipment that you would be on at a hospital. The anaesthetist will adjust your sedative and pain-relief medication throughout the procedure to ensure you feel no pain and remain blissfully unaware of what is going on around you. The anesthetist will also ensure that you are only placed in a level of sedation appropriate for the treatment you are undergoing.
You will wake up soon after the procedure is over and, after a thirty-minute recovery period, you will be able to go home. You just need a driver and someone to look after you for about 24-hours following your dental care procedure. The best part is, there are no side effects. In fact, most patients wake up feeling as though they have had the best sleep in their entire life. It’s just like waking up from a wonderful dream.
Do I Have To Go To Hospital?
No, if you visit Dr George Olstein’s sleep dentistry clinic in Prahran, the entire procedure will be carried out in his surgery. You don’t have to go through the hassle and form-filling process of being an in-patient at a hospital. All you have to do is arrive at the clinic and, after a few questions from the anaesthetist, you will be placed into a completely restful sleep.
Is it For Everyone?
As with all medical procedures, patient history will have to be taken into account before you are deemed eligible for sleep dentistry. There are also some treatments where it is preferable for you to be awake, such as if you are having crowns fitted. But, for most of the treatments that scare people, such as root canals or tooth extractions, sleep dentistry is the perfect way to make that trip to the dentist a far more pleasant experience.
Your oral health is incredibly important, both for your general health and your overall wellbeing. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t hesitate in booking yourself in for surgery. So, if you’ve got tooth decay, gum disease or any other oral ailment you need to treat it like any other medical problem. Phobias are complicated things, but sleep dentistry may be the perfect way for you to get the treatment you need without having to suffer.