Oral Sedation

Many people all over the world have a pathological fear of the dentist. This could be for a number of reasons. They could have had a previous traumatic experience at the dentist, or they could have a fear of needles and sharp instruments. For these people, a visit to the dentist causes feelings of extreme anxiety. It’s for these people that sedation dentistry was developed. Don’t be mistaken, sedation dentistry does not replace the anesthetic that is normally given to deaden the area being worked on. Rather, it is a way to make you relax and, in some cases, even forget that you’ve been to the dentist.

Levels of Sedation

There are various levels of sedation employed by dentists and dental surgeons that allow them to complete the dental treatment without any trauma to those with dental phobias.

  • Minimal Sedation: You are fully conscious but very relaxed.
  • Moderate or Conscious Sedation: There is a chance you will slur your words when speaking and will probably not remember very much after the procedure.
  • Deep Sedation: You will be on the edge of consciousness, but can still be awakened.
  • General Anesthesia: You are completely unconscious.

Methods of Administration

Minimal Inhalation Sedation: This is normally achieved through the application of nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, which is inhaled through a gas mask. The patient is fully conscious but very relaxed.

Oral Sedation: Oral sedation can be from minimal to moderate, and is normally achieved through the administration of a Benzodiazepine; of which the most popular is diazepam, lorazepam and triazolam. The pill is generally taken an hour before the dentists appointment and you will be relaxed but awake. A larger dose will induce moderate sedation and this is generally what is referred to in oral sedation. You will be very groggy and will probably not remember much of the procedure, but you can be awakened with a shake if you drop off to sleep.

Deep Sedation: Otherwise known as general anesthesia, you are completely unconscious and will only regain consciousness once the anesthesia has worn off or been reversed through medication.

Who should have Sedation Dentistry?

People have a great deal of anxiety about going to the dentist are perfect candidates for oral sedation. Others who should consider oral sedation:-

  • People who have a low pain threshold
  • People who can’t sit still for long periods of time
  • People who have sensitive teeth or who have a strong gag reflex.
  • People who need extensive dental work at one sitting

What about Children?

Children who are terrified of the dentist or who can’t sit still are usually given nitrous oxide, which has been found to be perfectly safe for children. Oral sedation can be used on children as long as the person prescribing the medication is qualified to do so. The qualified person will of course take into account the child’s age and weight and administer the correct dosage accordingly.

Many of us are not happy about going to the dentist, but for some people, an unreasoned fear or phobia prevents them from getting the dental attention they so sorely need. Oral sedation is the way to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with a visit to the dentist.

Don’t forget that oral sedation doesn’t replace the anesthetic necessary to deaden the area being worked on; it just makes you feel a lot better about getting the injection. Oral sedation is not only there for you to feel relaxed during the procedure, but it also makes it possible for the dentist to work on your mouth for much longer periods of time. If you are one of the unfortunate people who experience anxiety before a visit to the dentist, speak to your dentist about the benefits of oral sedation.