sedation dentistry vs sleep dentistryNow more than ever, patients are using methods to feel better and more relaxed during their dental appointments. Sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry are often discussed as ways to relieve the patient of anxiety, fear, and discomfort during a dental procedure. However, these two terms are often used interchangeably, which is inaccurate.


Though “sedation dentistry” and “sleep dentistry” are often used to refer to the same thing, there is a significant difference between the two.

It’s important to realize what each of these entails to make sure you are making informed decisions about your health before your dental appointment.


The Differences Between Sedation and Sleep Dentistry

  • Sedation dentistry refers to the use of medication to place the patient into a sedated yet awake state. Patients who are sedated remain conscious and are able to communicate, but they feel completely relaxed. Patients can choose between nitrous oxide, medication given orally, or medication delivered through an IV.
  • Sleep dentistry refers to the use of general anesthesia to put the patient completely to sleep before the procedure begins.


When Should Sedation Dentistry/Sleep Dentistry Be Used?

Sedation dentistry can be used safely for any dental treatment, from basic cleanings to advanced oral surgery. Sleep dentistry, on the other hand, should be reserved for the most invasive procedures and/or the most extreme cases of anxiety. With either form, your vital signs are monitored the entire time.


The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

There are several reasons many patients opt to use sedation dentistry during their dental appointments.

  • Sedation allows the patient to let go of fear and anxiety without losing consciousness. Maintaining the ability to communicate with the dentist during the procedure gives many sedation dentistry vs sleep dentistrypatients peace of mind.
  • Patients who are sedated may easily fall asleep if they so choose, but they are not forced to sleep. Many patients prefer this method.
  • Sedation allows patients to breathe on their own.
  • The recovery time after using sedation is significantly shorter than that of a patient who has used sleep dentistry. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off just moments after the patient stops inhaling it, and the effects of oral or IV sedation can be slept off in the hours after the appointment.
  • Sedation is much milder than sleep dentistry, and therefore carries fewer risks. It is considered to be a safer way for the patient to achieve a pain- and anxiety-free appointment.


Sleep Dentistry: Things to Consider

In some cases, sleep dentistry may be the best option for the patient. However, patients should be aware that there are additional risks involved when using sleep dentistry.

  • Patients who use sleep dentistry run the same risks as someone who undergoes any other type of surgery using general anesthesia, such as breathing or heart problems.
  • The recovery time is longer for patients who have been put under general anesthesia.


Aston dentistsSo Which Is It – Sedation Dentistry or Sleep Dentistry?

Ultimately, the decision to use sedation dentistry, sleep dentistry, or neither rests with you. We’re here to give you all the information you need to make the best decision for you.

If you are considering either of these methods for a better dental appointment experience, schedule a consultation with Dr. Lance Panarello or our other experienced dentists at Dental Health Care Associates.

It is better be alone than in bad company.
— George Washington