Oral sedation is a wonderful option for patients who need more than just nitrous oxide, but don’t need or want IV Sedation or general anesthesia. It allows many people to be minimally sedated through an entire dental visit using just a small pill.
Conscious sedation is modern dentistry that lets even the most high fear patient have a relaxing and comfortable dental visit. Since the patient is comfortable, Dr. Amini and/or Dr. Saidi are able to accomplish the work of several appointments in just one. There are a number of conscious sedation techniques, but they all have certain things in common. While the goal of general anesthesia is for the patient to sleep, in dentistry it is much more common to use conscious sedation, where the patient is minimally sedated and comfortable, yet still awake. When Dr. Amini or Dr. Saidi use conscious sedation, you don’t really fall asleep, even though sometimes it feels like you did. That’s because minimal sedation feels so relaxing and peaceful that the patient doesn’t even notice the passing of time. Many of the medications used in conscious sedation have an amnesiac effect as well, leaving patients with little or no memory of their dental appointment.
What kinds of sedatives are available?
The most popular types of dental sedatives are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Different levels of sedation (mild, moderate and deep) can be utilized depending on individual needs. Before administering any sedative, the dentist must analyze the full medical history of the patient, as well as taking note of any current medications.
Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental sedatives:
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is used as a mild sedative. It is delivered through a nose hood, and is administered throughout the entire procedure. Nitrous oxide elevates the general mood and can evoke a general sense of well-being. Most importantly, it relieves anxiety and reduces pain during the procedure. In addition, some tingling and numbness may be felt. There are few side effects associated with nitrous oxide, and it has been safely used in dentistry for many years.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is an excellent choice for people who fear needles. Oral medication is provided prior to treatment in order to induce a moderate state of sedation. Though oral sedatives do not cause sleep, they usually dull the senses. This means that most patients cannot remember the pain, smells or noises associated with the procedure. Usually, a dose of medication is taken prior to the appointment, and then topped up during the procedure as required.
What types of drugs are used in oral conscious sedation?
Most of the drugs used in sedation dentistry are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines reduce anxiety, muscle spasms, insomnia and seizures. Each medication has a different half-life, meaning that the effects last for varying amounts of time. The estimated length of the procedure determines which type of drug is going to be most effective.
Here are some of the most common drugs used in oral conscious sedation:
Valium® – This sedative has amnesic properties and a long half-life. It is usually used for time-consuming, complex procedures.
Halcion® – Usually used to treat insomnia, Halcion is an effective sedative with amnesic properties. A short half-life makes this sedative useful for shorter procedures.
Ativan® – This sedative is best known for reducing anxiety. It has amnesic properties and a medium half-life. Ativan is typically used for treatments shorter than two hours.
Versed® – This sedative has the shortest half-life and is therefore less commonly used. It alleviates anxiety in much the same way as nitrous oxide, and is used for visits that will take less than 30 minutes.
If you have questions or concerns about sedation dentistry
While all methods of sedation are very safe, the history of oral sedation has been especially safe as well as very effective. Sofi Dental Care uses very common medications that are extremely safe and widely prescribed. Your vital signs will be constantly monitored from the moment you arrive at the office through the appointment, and until we are certain you are ready to leave. In fact, they and their whole dental team are highly trained in safety and emergency procedures, making the dentist office one of the safest places you can be!