When it Comes to Sleep Dentistry, Your Child’s Safety Always Comes First

Sleep Dentistry Photo

Dental procedures with sedation and anesthetics are performed safely every year in Canada, with young patients being a common group to undergo these procedures.

In fact, the most common procedure that a pre-schooler will undergo using a general anesthetic is a dental one!

Every once in a while, I’ll read something on the internet about a mishap that occurred in a dental office, and it breaks my heart. And I’ve noticed a common theme - there are usually 3 key reasons why the accident occurred, yet all of them could have been prevented.

First, there is a lack of respect for sedation. Comments by staff or even the dentist telling parents that “there is nothing to worry about, it's perfectly safe”, perhaps demonstrate a lack of understanding of the potential risks. Nothing is “perfect”, anything can happen and you have to be prepared for it. That leads us to the second problem, which is training. Sleep dentistry requires a lot of training — a full three years! It is not a weekend or week-long course, but training in every aspect of sleep dentistry; including preparing for the worst. This includes CPR or even basic emergency preparations. Last, you read of dentists still trying to complete procedures despite deterioration in the patient's health under sedation.

This is why we take every sedation procedure seriously. It starts with a consultation. Understanding your health status, the risks associated with sleep dentistry, identifying the patient's needs, wants with a realistic expectation of the surgical day, and knowing your role in providing a safe outcome are thoroughly discussed during the consultation. It is not a free 15 minute consultation. Our staff undergo routine training in emergency management for even things like power failures. Above all, we put every patient's safety first. Even if it means cancellation of a day or stopping a procedure short. No one can guaranty that nothing will happen, but I will guaranty that we will always do our best to manage every complication competently.

Updated: August 2020:Below are the types of sedation dentistry offered at our Burlington clinic:

Minimal Sedation:

Nitrous Oxide

Minimal/mild sedation involves the use of nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas'. With this sedation technique, the patient remains completely conscious with a mask placed over their nose, breathing in a controlled level of nitrous oxide during their procedure to help them feel calm and relaxed.

Moderate Sedation:

Oral Sedation

Oral medication from the group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines (Benzos), are often prescribed to relieve anxiety prior to a patient's dental appointment. These medications offer a sedative and also amnesic effect for many, with patients often remembering little to nothing about their visit.

Conscious IV Sedation

IV sedation is administered intravenously, with patients remaining awake or conscious but in a state of deep relaxation. Similar to oral sedation, it is common for patients to remember little to nothing of the appointment afterwards.

Deep Sedation:

Sleep Sedation

Many patients request sleep dentistry for their visit, especially with more complex procedures, which is excellent for minimizing discomfort and increasing efficiency. General anesthesia administered by our Burlington dentist Dr.Toong can make it possible for multiple treatments to be completed during one session with minimal discomfort.

Our friendly and compassionate Dr. Toong will consult with you and your child prior to their procedure regarding which form of sedation will be most suitable.

You and your child are always safe at Asleep for Dentistry!

Our staff undergo routine training in emergency management, for even emergency events like power failures! Above all, we put every patient's safety first - even if it means cancellation of a scheduled visit, or cutting a procedure short.

While no one can ever guarantee that nothing out of the ordinary will happen, I personally guarantee that we will always do everything in our power to manage every potential complication competently, ensuring your child will leave his or her visit with us healthy, safe and comfortable!

Dr. Toong