What Is Oral Sedation?
Oral sedation is also called “conscious sedation,” because it is not meant to knock you out. Instead, it will just relax you while the dentist works on your teeth. You will still be awake & able to respond to the dentist if they ask you any questions. Patients typically report feeling drowsy, carefree & generally “out of it.” You may have trouble remembering all of your procedure, which some patients find to be a good thing. Our team will monitor your level of sedation as well as your vital signs to ensure your total comfort & safety.
The medications used for oral sedation are called benzodiazepines. Doctors normally prescribe these drugs for anxiety & panic disorders, which makes them very useful for patients who experience fear in the dental chair. Before your appointment, we recommend that you refrain from eating anything or drinking any non-clear liquids for at least six hours. Eating shortly before you take the medication may reduce its effectiveness & can cause nausea.
At our practice, we are dedicated to maximizing your comfort & eliminating your worries so you can get the treatment you need without any hassle.
Patients who feel uncomfortable about their dental treatment can choose to receive oral sedation. This involves taking an anti-anxiety pill about an hour before your dental appointment begins. If you need extensive work done or have not been to a dentist in awhile, this may be a good option.
Once your treatment is finished, you will not be able to drive home. Benzodiazepines inhibit your judgment & coordination much like alcohol, so you will need someone to drive you to & from your appointment. It is normal to feel groggy & tired once the medication begins to wear off. You should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after receiving oral sedation.
Anxious, fearful or uncooperative children can also be given oral sedation. In addition to reducing your child’s discomfort, sedation can help establish a positive association with dental care. Children who receive oral sedation should be monitored for the rest of the day after their appointment & should refrain from participating in any physical activities such as sports.
Benzodiazepines may negatively interact with other medications. Be sure to let us know in advance about any prescriptions, over-the-counter products or dietary supplements you are taking. You must also avoid consuming alcohol before & after you receive oral sedation, because the combined sedative effects can be very dangerous.
Women who are nursing or pregnant should not receive oral sedation. Patients with heart, lung or liver diseases should consult with their dentist or primary care doctor before undergoing oral sedation.