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Conscious Sedation vs Sleep Dentistry: Know the Difference

When researching dental procedures and offices that offer the procedures, you will come across a variety of claims, some of which are genuine, some of which are misleading. So in order ensure you are making a wise and informed decision about your oral health, you need to make sure of have the knowledge to distinguish misleading claims from valid ones.

That is one of the reasons New Albany Implants publishes this ongoing blog. We want the wonderful people of Southern Indiana to have all the information you need to know what you are getting when you seek professional dental care.

Some of the most common, and misleading, claims you will see from dentist offices concern sedation dentistry. Many oral health providers present sedation options as if they are interchangeable. For instance, many dentists will claim to offer sleep dentistry, when the highest level of sedation they offer is actually oral sedation.

Sleep dentistry is a specific term and procedure that requires a great deal of training and expertise to administer. Just because you may be so relaxed you fall asleep during a procedure does not mean you are receiving sleep dentistry. So, let’s take a moment to examine the difference between the types of sedation.

Conscious Sedation

There are two types of conscious sedation, which is a type of sedation where you stay awake and at least somewhat aware of what is going on around you.

Inhaled Sedation – Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is delivered by breathing normally through a small mask over your nose. This is a low level of sedation that relaxes you enough to sit comfortably through whatever dental work you are receiving. In fact, the effects of nitrous oxide wear off almost immediately, making it the only form of sedation that allows you to safely drive yourself home.

You will retain complete awareness while receiving inhaled sedation. So if you have strong dental anxiety, you may need a stronger form of sedation.

Oral Sedation – This type of sedation is a step up from nitrous oxide, and it takes a little preparation. Oral sedation essentially means you will take a prescription strength sedative pill before you come in for your procedure. As such, you will not be able to drive yourself to or from our office.

Like inhaled sedation, you will be awake during your procedure, and somewhat to fully aware. This is a higher level of sedation, though, so it is not uncommon for patients to drift off to sleep while having their dental work done. However, they are easily awakened with a light tap or nudge. Which would not be the case with true sleep dentistry.

Sleep Dentistry

As the name implies, this type of sedation will put you completely under. You will be asleep, and totally unaware of your surrounding.

IV Sedation – This type of sedation produces unconsciousness in a seconds. It is ideal for those patients who are truly fearful of dental care procedures. It is also useful for patients who require a good deal of fairly invasive dental work. IV sedation allows you to lie completely still for a long period of time, longer than anyone would be able to do while consciously sedated, so that you can have the work you need done in one visit.

General Anesthesia – This is the highest level of sedation. It is usually administered in at a hospital because it requires the expertise of a Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The effects are similar to IV sedation, so this type of sedation is ideal for patients who are absolutely phobic but cannot receive IV sedation for whatever reason.

Sedation Options at New Albany Implants

Whatever your level of anxiety, our Southern Indiana office has the sedation options you need. So don’t put off necessary dental care any longer.

Contact us to schedule an appointment.