Sleep Dentistry – feel calm and comfortable with sleep dentistry at Smile Solutions.

Sleep dentistry (or sedation dentistry) is a comfortable way for patients to receive dental treatment while under mild sedation.


What is Sleep Dentistry?

Some of us have suffered traumatic dental experiences in the past or have a low tolerance for pain. Either of these histories can stop us seeking dental treatment when we need it. At Smile Solutions we want to ensure that all our patients have a comfortable experience with us. Therefore we offer sleep dentistry for all dental procedures.

Sleep dentistry, also known as sedation dentistry, is a comfortable way for patients to receive dental treatment while under mild sedation. A drowsy and dreamlike state is induced by means of a sedative combined with a pain-relieving medicine administered intravenously. The overall experience is relaxing, and patients generally have no memory of the dental procedure afterwards.


Who Is Sleep Dentistry Suitable for?

While sleep dentistry is suitable for most people, we offer it only to patients who are deemed medically well. Before receiving sleep dentistry, you will be assessed by a dentist to determine whether you are medically well and can therefore be safely sedated. Then, in conjunction with your dentist, the anaesthetist will confirm your suitability for sleep dentistry just before the procedure. You will be asked to complete a detailed medical questionnaire and sometimes you will need to participate in a phone consultation before you arrive.

Sleep dentistry is ideal for those who are particularly fearful or apprehensive about any dental experience – whether to do with the smells and sounds associated with dentistry or a fear of the oral injections or instruments involved. Also, some people have an involuntary gag reflex when a dentist is working in their mouth or they might struggle to hold their mouth open for long periods. All of these resistances are overcome with sleep dentistry.

Sleep dentistry is also a good option for patients who need to undergo particularly long or complex treatment sessions. And people who are time-poor might opt for sleep dentistry, as it allows multiple treatments to be done in one continuous session, which saves the time and effort needed for several appointments.


What Procedures Can Be Performed Using Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry is appropriate for all dental procedures, whether short or long, including simple fillings, crowns, implants, extractions and more.

 If you choose to have sedation dentistry in conjunction with your dental treatment, be sure to mention this to your dentist beforehand. They will let you know if there are any factors making it unsuitable for your procedure.


Sedation Options

The most common sedation options available for dental procedures are intravenous (or IV) sedation, “happy gas”, and oral sedation.

IV Sedation

The anaesthesia administered intravenously is a mix of sedative and pain- relieving medicines, which together induce a drowsy, dreamlike state. Our specialist administers a safe individually tailored dose of anaesthesia for each patient. There are no tubes in your throat, you are able to respond to any commands if needed, and you are being monitored throughout the whole procedure.

“Happy Gas”

Happy gas induces a mild form of sedation. It is a safe and common way to relieve anxiety during dental treatment. Before treatment, a mix of nitrogen and oxygen is administered though a nosepiece in the comfort of one of our calming dental suites and under the care of one of our trained sedation dentists.

Oral Sedation

A common and easy way to relax your nerves before a dental procedure is to take a calming medication in advance of your appointment. These medications, which can be prescribed by one of our expert clinicians, will relax and calm you in preparation for any dental procedure about which you might be anxious.


Features and Benefits of Sleep Dentistry

Although you are put into a drowsy state and will barely have any memory of the procedure afterwards, you will technically be awake during your procedure and still in control of your protective reflexes such as coughing and gagging. You will also still be able to communicate: you will be able to tell your dentist of any concerns, which can then be addressed, as well as answer any questions you are asked.

As well as offering anxious patients a comfortable way to receive dental treatment, sleep dentistry enables your treatment to go smoothly, without interruption, and you will be back to normal and able to go home immediately after your dental procedure, as long as you are accompanied for the next 24 hours.


Who Administers the Anaesthetic for Sleep Dentistry?

In Australia, any qualified medical or dental practitioner may perform dental sedation. However, only a specialist anaesthetist is trained and qualified to manage the full range of patient variations and any rare complications that might occur. Only anaesthetists can offer a broad range of sedations, from very light through to general anaesthesia.

At Smile Solutions, sedation is administered only by a qualified anaesthetist who is a registered specialist with a medical degree plus a post-graduate qualification in anaesthetics, rather than a general dentist. Throughout your treatment they will monitor you using hospital-grade equipment and will thus ensure your wellbeing and comfort.


Do I Need to Go to Hospital to Have Sleep Dentistry?

At Smile Solutions, an anaesthetist attends our rooms so sleep dentistry can be performed in our practice, rather than needing to be done in a hospital.


Is Sleep Dentistry Safe?

Our clinicians take all precautions to ensure sleep dentistry is as safe as possible for every patient receiving it. With sleep dentistry there are no tubes in your throat, unlike when you have a general anaesthetic in hospital. And unlike being under general anaesthetic, you are in a state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness and are able to respond to commands if needed.

As a precaution, we recommend that you be accompanied by a responsible adult who must remain on our premises throughout your appointment, escort you home, and arrange for you to be looked after for the next 24 hours in case of a prolonged sedation effect.


What Preparation is Needed for Sleep Dentistry?

At the beginning of your appointment, the anaesthetist will explain the sedation procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

You should not eat or drink for at least six hours before your appointment, although water is allowed up to two hours beforehand. Up to two hours before sedation, you can take any of your prescription medications as you normally would. Even within the fasting period, you can swallow any prescription pills, if necessary, with a sip of water. Any medicines you are taking should be brought with you so the dentist can see what you have taken in the period before your sedation. You must not drink alcohol the night before sedation and for 24 hours afterwards.

You should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing during your procedure, and remove any nail varnish and items of jewellery before your visit as these may interfere with monitoring equipment.

Any illness you have before the appointment should be reported immediately. Also, if you know or suspect you are pregnant, please notify the practice as soon as possible. It is preferable to avoid treatment under IV sedation during pregnancy.


What to Expect Following Sleep Dentistry

As with general anaesthetics, the safeguards we put in place mean serious side-effects from sleep dentistry are very rare. Some people experience mild drowsiness for up to 24 hours but this is not typical. As a precaution we recommend that you avoid driving a vehicle or travelling on public transport immediately afterwards and that you are accompanied home.

In order to ensure appropriate safe recovery and aftercare, we will always discuss the treatment provided with your escort on the day. You must not be solely responsible for young children for 24 hours after sedation; alternative childcare arrangements must be made. You also must not sign any legal documents, drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after sedation.


Cost of Sleep Dentistry

The cost of sleep dentistry is additional to the fee for dental treatment. You can expect to pay an hourly rate for sedation, with a minimum cost of one hour. After the first hour the charges are applied in 15-minute increments. Your dentist will give you an estimate of the cost according to the duration of your procedure.

As a specialist anaesthetist treats you, you are eligible for a Medicare rebate of about a quarter of the cost. Generally the rebate is around $150/hour. Once you consider this rebate, it is not uncommon for the anaesthetist’s fee to be the same as, or less than, the cost of a less-qualified clinician.


Why Choose Smile Solutions?

At Smile Solutions we have an experienced team of clinicians, including visiting specialist anaesthetists, ready to attend to your dental care. Understanding that many people feel anxious about receiving dental treatment, we encourage our patients to share their concerns with us. We will do everything to ensure you have a comfortable and stress-free experience with us.

Our visually beautiful and serene practice helps to put patients at ease. With plenty of natural light, views over Melbourne, fragranced candles and soft music, the relaxing atmosphere that we’ve created is unlike that in any other dental practice. This comfortable environment, supported by the best technology in the hands of experienced qualified clinicians, provides you the optimum patient experience.