A lot of people ask us, “Is there a way for me to sleep through my dental implant treatment?”
In short, yes. Sort of. Ultimately it depends on the type of dental sedation or anesthesia that you receive during your dental implant treatment. Technically you’re not asleep; it just feels like it.
Why Sleep Through Dental Implant Treatment?
Dental treatments can be intimidating for some people, especially when it involves a more complex process, like removing and replacing teeth. A past history of dental anxiety or negative experiences in a dental practice can also play into the reasons behind someone wanting to sleep through their dental treatment.
A lot of our DFW dental implant clients are individuals who are undergoing complete full arch reconstruction. In those situations, the treatment is a bit lengthier to complete compared to placing just one or two dental implants. That’s why for full mouth rehabilitation, we typically recommend in-house sedation dentistry during your initial implant surgery.
Why are Some People Awake During Implant Treatment?
Single tooth replacement with dental implants is a relatively minimally-invasive procedure. We can comfortably numb that specific area with a local anesthetic—the same kind of numbing medication you get if you have a filling—and gently place the implant before the anesthetic wears off.
Comparatively speaking, dental implant treatment is easier than having a tooth removed. Since the bone underneath your gum tissues doesn’t have any nerve endings, all we need to do is make sure the gums above the implant site are completely numb. From there, we create a small opening in the tissues, set the implant in place, then close the tissues so that the implant can integrate.
Once your numbing medication wears off, there’s little to no discomfort.
If you’re only having one or two dental implants installed, you probably only need the area numbed with an anesthetic. But this is purely a personal decision that, if you so choose, you can also request a deeper sedative to make it feel like you’re sleeping through the appointment.
On the other hand, when you’re having a full arch of implants installed, our DFW specialists will usually recommend sedation or general anesthesia during the procedure.
Benefits of Asking to Sleep During Implant Treatment
- When you’re sedated, you feel completely relaxed and tune out everything that’s going on around you.
- Longer procedures are more comfortable when you’re sedated. Especially since your mouth is open for an extended period of time.
- If you’re “sleeping” (sedated), your specialist can work more efficiently because they know your comfort is at its highest level.
- Knowing that you won’t feel or remember as much can make it easier to overcome the anxiety or nervousness about moving forward with your dental implant treatment.
- Sedation dentistry allows multiple procedures to be completed at one time, as opposed to breaking them up into additional shorter appointments.
What Does it Feel Like to Sleep Through Implant Procedures?
There are different levels of sedation that you’ll find in dental offices, depending on if it’s a basic procedure like a dental filling or something more surgical in nature, like wisdom tooth removal. With dental implants, you have choices as well. Some of the most common levels of anesthesia or sedation that are used in dentistry include things like:
Nitrous Oxide/Laughing Gas
Inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide is one of the most common types of sedation used in dental offices worldwide. It is safe, effective, fast-acting, and quickly reversible. This type of sedative doesn’t make you feel like you’re asleep, but rather as if you’ve had a couple of glasses of wine. You’ll be fully conscious, but you just won’t care as much about what’s going on around you. Best of all, once your procedure is complete, the effects wear off in 5-10 minutes. You won’t need someone to drive you home; you can safely get behind the wheel for yourself.
Oral Conscious Sedation
When you need to take the “edge” off and have someone who can drive you to and from your appointment, oral sedation is a common choice. This form of sedative involves a prescription-strength medication that you take by mouth about an hour prior to your scheduled procedure. It puts you into a daydream-like state where you’re extremely drowsy, able to respond to simple instructions, but typically don’t remember anything. It wears off within a few hours.
Intravenous (IV) sedation is extremely common when you’re having multiple dental implants placed. The sedative is delivered via an IV line in your arm, making it possible to accurately control the dose and delivery timeframe. Once your implant treatment is complete, we can turn off the medication drip, and you’ll slowly “wake back up” to return home. Like oral sedation, you’ll need to have a designated driver accompany you to your dental implant appointment.
“Am I Really Asleep?”
Technically no, you’re not asleep when you’re sedated. You’re still partially conscious to the point that we can ask you to turn your head or open your mouth. But the amnesic effects of sedatives typically make it so that you don’t remember much—if anything—about your appointment.
When general anesthesia is used, like in hospital-based surgeries, you are in a deeper level of “sleep,” so to speak, where you are non-conscious and do not move or respond during the procedure. But general anesthesia is rarely used except in advanced, specialized dental situations where it’s in the best interest of the patient.
Sedation Implant Dentistry DFW
At ARCHPOINT, we talk with each individual implant client about their personal comfort level, the extent of treatment needs, and our suggestion for the most appropriate sedation delivery. You may have a couple of options to consider, depending on the circumstances. Ultimately our top goal is to keep you safe and comfortable, regardless of whether it’s single implant placement or full arch All-on-6/All-on-4 treatment.
Our DFW implant specialists will be happy to answer any questions that you have about your implant sedation experience. If you want to sleep (or feel like you’re sleeping) through your next appointment, just let us know.