What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dental sedation is the use of medication to relieve dental anxiety, stress, and dental phobias during dental treatment. Dental anxiety is a very common phenomenon that afflicts up to 36% of the population.

If you’re scared of the dentist, needles, dental tools, or you feel claustrophobic when a dentist is working on your mouth, this can cause avoidance of necessary dental treatment, which is the last thing we want. 

By administering differing concentrations of sedatives, we can induce a patient into mild to deep sedation. These are various states of calm, ranging from relaxed and slightly sleepy to completely unconscious.

The use of dental sedation puts patients at ease, reduces avoidance of dental treatment, increases cooperation, and enables dentists to get more work done in fewer appointments.

Oral Conscious Sedation

A conscious form of sedation is when the patient remains fully awake and responsive to their surroundings while they are sedated. However, they are much more relaxed and may feel sleepy, or in a dream-like state. 

If you feel very relaxed and drowsy, you may drift off to sleep, but you can be easily awoken.

Oral conscious sedation has its advantages because the dentist can give you instructions and you can respond. It’s also associated with fewer risks compared to deeper levels of sedation and is more affordable. Oral conscious sedation is administered through an anti-anxiety pill that is taken about 1 hour before your appointment.

You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment and monitor you for the rest of the day. You will not be able to drive once you take the medication and since the effects can linger for up to 24 hours, you will need them to take you home and watch over you for the rest of the day. The medication is taken an hour before your appointment because this allows enough time for it to kick in by the time of your treatment. 

You are unlikely to remember what happened once the appointment is over, because of the amnesiac effects of the sedative. This is a great advantage for those with past trauma in the dental setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about sedation? We’ve got the answers you need. Read on, and get all the details.

Can An Emergency Dentist Put Me to Sleep?
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Yes, an emergency dentist can put you to sleep using IV sedation or you could have your treatment performed under general anesthesia in a hospital. However, oral conscious sedation will not put you to sleep because it is a milder sedative that merely relaxes you and melts away negative feelings like stress and anxiety.

Do I Feel Pain With Sedation?
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No, you will not feel any pain under sedation. Any invasive procedures or treatments that have the potential to cause pain are safeguarded by the administration of local anesthesia. This completely numbs your mouth so that you don’t feel any pain. 

The additional use of dental sedation also eliminates pain sensation, making you feel very comfortable during your appointment. Best of all, you don’t need to remember anything afterward.

Care when you need it most.