Sedation Dentistry vs. Sleep Dentistry

Lake Oswego Dentist Serving Portland, & Nearby West Linn, OR

If you suffer from dental phobia, going to the dentist may be one of the most stressful and unnerving experiences of your life. Portland dentist Dr. Sue Wendling understands the paralyzing fear caused by dental anxiety, since her original experiences at the dentist’s office evoked the same emotions in her. Therefore, she offers a variety of sedation dentistry options so that you can receive important dental treatments even if you experience severe anxiety.

Are Sedation Dentistry and Sleep Dentistry the Same?

Many dentists use the terms “sedation dentistry” and “sleep dentistry” interchangeably, resulting in a great deal of confusion among patients. In reality, these terms are not the same; they refer to different methods of sedation and encompass different levels of risk.

It is important to understand the difference between the two terms when choosing your sedation option. At your initial consultation, Dr. Wendling will discuss the various sedation methods with you in great detail and recommend the option that best suits your level of anxiety and the type of procedure you require.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a safer and more conservative method intended to reduce your anxiety and place you in a more relaxed state of mind. When you opt for sedation dentistry, you will remain conscious throughout your procedure, and you will be able to communicate with Dr. Wendling regarding your dental treatment.

Dr. Wendling uses a variety of sedatives with her patients, including:

  • Oral sedatives – You and Dr. Wendling will choose a pill to take prior to your dental procedure where you will remain awake, but in a deep state of relaxation. You will be able to answer questions and follow Dr. Wendling’s instructions during your procedure.
  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) – If you prefer, Dr. Wendling can administer nitrous oxide through a mask just before and during your procedure. This sedation method wears off quickly, and you should be able to drive home once your dental work is completed.

Sleep Dentistry

Sleep dentistry is somewhat of a misnomer, since you are never actually asleep during your procedure. The term refers to a sedation method similar to general anesthesia. You will be completely unconscious throughout the procedure and have no memory of what happened.

Your dentist will need to undergo special training and certification to perform sleep dentistry, and an anesthesiologist must be present to monitor your vital signs and make sure there are no complications with the anesthesia. You will also need someone to drive you home after your procedure, and you will most likely need to spend the remainder of the day resting.

This sedation method is only recommended for patients with severe dental anxiety. There are always certain risks associated with general anesthesia, and if the more conservative options listed above are sufficient to relieve your anxiety, you are better off choosing sedation dentistry, which is both safer and less expensive. Should you require the deeper level of sedation, Dr. Wendling works with dental offices offering that particular service.

If you are interested in sedation dentistry for your procedure, please contact our Portland cosmetic dentistry office today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Wendling serves patients in Portland, Lake Oswego, and West Linn, Oregon.

Portland Cosmetic Dentist

17437 Boones Ferry Road Suite 400
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035