The idea of anyone poking around inside your mouth can be nerve-racking for many people. It’s why going to the dentist has always been a nightmare for most children, and some carry that fear all through adulthood.
However, there might come a point when brushing your teeth every day won’t be enough. Whether you like it or not, if you want your oral health to remain in top shape, then a visit to the dentist could be what you need.
Of course, it’s understandable that you can’t overcome your fear of the dentist with a snap of your fingers. Thankfully, dentistry has branches that cater to every patient’s specific needs, so it offers a solution in the form of sleep dentistry.
What Is Sleep Dentistry?
The term ‘sleep dentistry’ may cause some confusion,and understandably so.
When discussing sleep dentistry, it could be referring todentistry in regard tosleeping disorders—particularly, sleep apnoea. Because the body relaxes while sleeping, people with sleep apnoea might have their throats obstructed due to the tissues and muscles collapsing. This disrupted breathing can ruin a person’s sleep quality. Sleep dentistry thus resolves this issue by having people use dental devices that prevent this, such as a customized mouth guard.
On another note, sleep dentistry (or ‘sedation dentistry’) also refers to the field of dentistry wherein your dental health is taken care of by a recommended site or clinic as you are under sedation. However, it might sound misleading;in this type of sleep dentistry, dentists use sedatives to calm you down instead of simply numbing your mouth with an anaesthetic. They do this by using medications such as the following:
- Oral sedatives (or pills)
- Laughing gas
- Intravenous (IV) sedatives for more extended operations
How It Guarantees Good Oral Health
You might be wondering how sleep dentistry can help you secure good oral health; after all, it just serves to calm you down on your trip to the dentist. Well, here are some factors that may contribute to better oral health.
- It Makes ForAnxiety-Free Appointments
Imagining yourself sitting on a chair with your mouth wide open for someone to rummage in might send a shiver down some people’s spines. The thought of placing your vulnerability in the hands of a strangermay be nerve-racking for many.
That being said, calming down in the middle of an operation might seem impossible for some patients, especially if the appointment is one that involvesextensive dental work. No amount of reassuring words from your loved ones and dentist can prepare you for the real thing.
By allowing them to issue a sedative within your system, you can comfortably stay in your chair and let the professionals do their thing without any more stalling. Once you come to, all that’ll be left for them to do is to check for any defects in your mouth and ask how you’re doing.
- It Ensures Better Safety
Squirming around in your seat and fiddling with whatever’s within reach are great ways to distract yourself from what’s happening. However, in an operation that requires concentration, you might also distract your dentist. Some people may have nervous habitssimilar to these,which they might do in a feeble attempt to remain calm. The same goes for those with low pain tolerance or sensitive teeth.
Meanwhile, children willmake little to no attempt to sit still and keep calm. They could be curious about the new setting and the tools laid out by the dentist, so they would have to be reminded to sit still in order for the dentist to do their job properly. If the child is scared of how sterile the clinic is and they observe the sharp tools set on the tray next to them, then you should prepare yourself for much worse than fidgeting and squirming. Scared children are more likely to scream and throw a tantrum if they have a masked stranger hovering over them.
Because people have different ways of coping, it may not be so simpleto try to get them to stop and stay still, especially children. Therefore, sleep dentistry may be the only way to ensure their safety during the operation, from start to finish.
- It Encourages More Visits
Dentists are trained to provide treatments and perform procedures that benefit your oral health. But those who are wary around dentists might not think of that before an operation. After all, no one would lookforward to an appointment whereinthey only feel pain and discomfort, especially if they can’t do anything but let it happen.
However, if you undergo dental operations under sedatives, your fear might slowly ebb away as you realize that these appointments can be painless. Without the factor of fear or discomfort, you can then start to focus on the benefits of constantly visiting your dentist. Eventually, you can get to a point where you don’t feel any apprehension before visits.
Dental phobia is not an uncommon fear to have, especially if you’ve had painful or uncomfortable experiences during your visits to the dentist. However, the same people who suffer from this are expected to face their fears more often than people with other phobias do, because good oral health is crucial to your overall health.
If you struggle with dental phobia, you may want to consider the points above and give sleep dentistry a try. This is one way you could effectively lose your fear of dentist visits and develop a healthy notion of it.