The Difference between Sedation Dentistry and Sleep Dentistry in Philadelphia

If the thought of going to the dentist is enough to make you shudder in fear, then you may be suffering from dental phobia. The World Health Organization states that dental phobia affects approximately 20% of the world’s population. People suffering from this will most likely put off going to the dentist at all costs until their oral problem worsens to an overwhelming point. Fortunately, there are two common ways to address this problem: sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry.

There is, however, a great deal of confusion between the two terms, and, as a result, many people think that sedation and sleep dentistry in Philadelphia entail the same procedures. They don’t. To help you understand better which type will solve your dentist anxieties, here is a brief explanation of each.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry uses mild oral sedatives or nitrous oxide to help anxious patients relax during the dental treatment. These methods will ease the patient’s apprehension, but will not render him unconscious, allowing him to respond to the dentist’s instructions throughout the procedure. Interestingly, patients who undergo sedation dentistry will have little memory of the entire treatment.

The time it will take for you to get drowsy or slightly asleep depends on the method of sedation used. If you go the oral sedation route, you will likely be instructed to take it before your scheduled appointment, and be required to have someone drive you home after the treatment. If you choose the other method that uses nitrous oxide, it will be administered in the dental office. Dental sedation in Philadelphia is usually the first approach to address problems of patients with dental phobia.

Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry will render you completely unconscious and unaware of what is happening around you. In this procedure, a trusted dentist, such as Dr. Thomas DeFinnis DMD, will use general anesthesia, instead of mild oral sedatives or nitrous oxide, administered intravenously. The patient will not be able to interact with the dentist and will have no memory of the entire procedure.

This approach is generally recommended for patients with extreme cases of dental phobia. At the end of the day, the method the dentist will recommend will ultimately depend on the level of your fear.