Understanding Conscious Sedation During Dental Procedures

Understanding Conscious Sedation During Dental Procedures

Sitting in the dentist’s chair can be a little unnerving. Sometimes simple distraction techniques are enough to put a patient at ease, but for bigger procedures, a sedative might be necessary. But what about conscious sedation?

Sedation helps anxious patients to relax during dental treatment, especially complex procedures. Nitrous oxide is a popular form of sedative, thanks to its immediate effects and quick recovery time. Oral sedation is another sedative, taken as a pill ahead of your appointment. These are taken in advance to let the sedative take full effect. Conscious sedation is also a form of sedation often used by dentists to help their patients.

What Is Conscious Sedation?Photo by Ozkan Guner on Unsplash

While normal sedation renders the patient completely unconscious, conscious sedation means the patient stays awake throughout the procedure. The patient will feel relaxed and drowsy, preventing any discomfort or pain during the treatment. 

Benefits of This Kind of Sedation

Conscious sedation is a good choice since it allows patients to respond to instructions from the dentist throughout the procedure if needed. It also means that no artificial support is necessary. This ensures the patient’s airways function correctly in a partially awake state and prevents any breathing issues. 

When Is This Sedation Used?

Sometimes known as sleep dentistry, we mostly use conscious sedation for patients undergoing more extensive dental treatments, such as root canals and fillings. However, it can also be a great solution for routine cleanings and less invasive oral care for those dental patients who may be overly anxious. It’s the conscious sedation method that can often be the best option for putting patients at ease and making them comfortable during their visit. 

Do I Need Conscious Sedation?

Not everyone needs conscious sedation. But for patients with acute dental anxiety or who fear visiting the dentist, it’s an ideal solution for any dental care procedure, from basic cleaning to more complex treatments.

Conscious sedation is also ideal for people who have a sensitive gag reflex or a fear of needles. Some patients suffer from claustrophobia while lying in the dentist’s chair, so conscious sedation can also alleviate some of that anxiety. Additionally, patients with teeth sensitivity might also want to opt for conscious sedation to avoid discomfort when the dentist works on their teeth. 

Some patients actually may experience a reduced sensitivity to local anesthetic, which means they don’t experience the benefits of complete sedation. Conscious sedation can be a helpful alternative for these patients. And for those who have physical, behavioral, or cognitive special needs or difficulty controlling movements, conscious sedation can relax the body to make it easier and more manageable to receive dental treatment. 

What Happens Afterwards?

In a consciously sedated state, patients will feel drowsy or sluggish and may experience side effects for the rest of the day. Because of this, it’s important to organize a ride home in advance for after the procedure as it’s dangerous to drive yourself with slow reflexes. Effects will naturally wear off, allowing patients to return to normal activities within 24 hours.

If you are considering conscious sedation, then please speak to Kozlow and Rowell today and find out how our team can put you at ease with your next appointment.