All About Conscious Sedation

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In some dental procedures, the use of conscious sedation is recommended or required, depending on the severity of the dental condition, or the possible complications that may occur during the actual treatment. Here's what you should know going into and coming out of your procedure that requires sedation.

What Is It?

Also known as "sleep dentistry," sedation can be administered to a patient either orally (by mouth) or intravenously (by inserting a tube in your arm or hand). Your dentist needs special training in either method, and the most common specialist who administers sedation is an oral surgeon.

Drugs.com lists some of the most common drugs used for dental procedures as Ativan, Lorazepam, Phenergan and Sublimaze.

When Is Conscious Sedation Needed?

The most common indication for the use of sedation in dentistry is when a surgical procedure is complicated, long or one that may cause the patient anxiety. It is hard to predict how patients will react to the sensations and sounds of surgery, so most people elect to undergo sedation for procedures, such as implants, removal of wisdom teeth and gum surgery. The procedure is usually done in the doctor's office, but sometimes it is also performed at a hospital or surgery center, depending on the case and the dentist's or oral surgeon's recommendations.

How Do You Feel After Conscious Sedation?

Most people feel fine within a few hours of the procedure, and it varies depending on the level of sedation and how long the patient was sedated. People may feel a little drowsy or "goofy" when they wake up, and the side effects may last for a few minutes or the patient may want to go to sleep naturally after they get home. Most people wake up the next day and have no problems, except for possible swelling from the surgery itself, according to the National Institutes of Health.

What Should You Do After Conscious Sedation?

Unless the dentist who performed the dental procedures has special instructions for the patient, the routine oral hygiene procedures that ensure good oral health can be resumed once the patient resumes eating. Occasionally, some of the areas that have had surgery may be a bit tender, and an oral bacterial rinse, such as Colgate Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse, may be recommended. It facilitates healing, alleviates discomfort and provides a whole mouth clean, and helps reduce bacteria in minor oral wounds to help prevent infection, as well.

In summary, sedation is a safe and effective tool to be used in complex or long dental procedures. Patients are happy that they have no recollection of the time in the dental chair and respond well to future treatment.