Conscious Sedation Dentistry
Conscious Dental Sedation using Oral “Pill” Sedation
Oral sedation is one of the newest methods of anxiety control in dentistry. Sedatives delivered in pill form produce a very relaxed state in most patients. Recent pharmacological developments have given dentistry oral drugs which produce deep relaxation while remaining very safe. This was impossible as recently as ten years ago. Many United States dentists practice oral sedation today, though with widely varying levels of expertise.
The first tablet is taken an hour before your scheduled appointment, and the second is given in the office an hour before the actual treatment starts. Sometimes several pills are given, depending on circumstances. If you are comfortable at this point, additional doses may or may not be given, depending both on your doctor’s training and the state where you are being treated.
This sedation technique is very well received among many patients, and is quite effective for short appointments. Oral sedatives are beneficial in several ways, including the fact that they reduce pain more effectively than nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and that they eliminate memories of dental procedures in most patients.
Some patients who benefit most from oral sedatives include:
- Patients whose anxiety is higher than average, and who thus need shorter appointments.
- “Special needs” and handicapped patients who want more done during each dental visit.
- Patients who want a lot of work done during each appointment, and/or those who want more comfort.
- People whose mouths are difficult to numb and who therefore need their nervous system to be “toned down.”
- People susceptible to gagging.
- As a prelude to IV sedation for patients with severe needle phobia.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Oral sedation is most effective for minor procedures and very effective for many patients. If initial dosing fails to make the patient comfortable, additional doses require 45 to 60 minutes extra to take effect. Your appointment may be over by then. Many times we have a patient start their procedure with conventional sedation and if they are not sufficiently comfortable we switch them to a more reliable and “deeper” IV or IM sedation.
Very few dentists in the state of Illinois, less than 2%, are licensed to administer deep or IV sedation due to stringent requirements. Dentists who promise sedation without being able to use these intensive methods may not be able to deliver the degree of amnesia and comfort that many patients are seeking. Be certain your dentist has the training to handle and deliver the degree of sedation and comfort you need!
Watch our video on How Dental Sedation can Eliminate Dental Fear–Your Options Explained!