Anxiety about painful dental procedures has caused many people to put off dental care. Sleep dentistry makes it possible for anxious patients to have the dental care they need without worrying about discomfort in the dental chair while avoiding some of the risks associated with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

Dr. Morse understands your dental phobia has prevented you from getting the dental care you need. Dr. Morse is here to help. He does not take a critical or judgmental attitude towards your current state of dental health. It is unfortunate that some dentists assign blame to the patient for their tooth problems rather than seeing the condition as a problem that requires treatment

While many people associate sleep dentistry with major procedures such as full mouth extraction or extensive crown and bridge treatment, some people need sleep dentistry for minor procedures such as cleanings.

Nitrous oxide or "laughing gas" gives you a relaxed floating feeling without prolonged sedation. This technique has been in use longer than any other sleep dentistry method and is considered the safest. Nitrous oxide is a gas that is inhaled along with oxygen through a mask that is placed over the nose. The dentist can precisely control the level of relaxation by varying the concentrations of nitrous oxide and oxygen in the inhaled gas. Many procedures can be done with nitrous oxide analgesia without painful local anesthetic injections. Most patients recover from the affects of nitrous oxide minutes after it is stopped. Most patients are able to come to the dental appointment without a companion to take them home.

Benzodiazepine anxiolytics such as
Halcion (Triazolam) and Valium (Diazepam) are taken in pill form one hour prior to the dental appointment, making it possible to relax and even fall asleep during dental treatment. These drugs produce more profound relaxation than nitrous oxide. The degree of relaxation can not be as easily titrated as for nitrous oxide since this drug is administered in pill form. Some patients will have no memory of the procedure afterwards. The newer drugs have a much shorter duration of action making them much safer than older drugs that have a more prolonged sedative effect.

As a general rule, you must be in good health to have sleep dentistry.  Sleep dentistry is generally not recommended for pregnant women. The doctor will review your medical history and discuss possible drug interactions. You may need clearance from your medical doctor prior to taking these medications if you have a chronic but stable medical condition.

If you take a pill for sleep dentistry, you will need to have a companion accompany you to and from the dental office. It is best not to eat prior to sleep dentistry. You will be given post-operative instructions and emergency contact telephone numbers.

If you are a candidate for sleep dentistry, the different options to be used will be discussed at your initial consultation.

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