Dental anxiety is a very real thing. For some people, the thought of going to the dentist can cause immense amounts of stress and anxiety. If you suffer from dental anxiety, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that about 30% of Americans experience dental anxiety. There are various ways to manage dental anxiety; one option is oral sedation. What Is Oral Sedation? Oral sedation is a type of medication that is used to help people relax during dental procedures.
It’s important to note that oral sedation differs from general anesthesia, which completely knocks a person out. With oral sedation, you will still be awake and able to respond to questions and follow directions, but you will likely feel tired and relaxed. You should know a few things if considering oral sedation for your next dental appointment. In this article, we’ll cover what oral sedation is, how it’s administered, the benefits and risks of oral sedation, and how to prepare for your appointment.
What is Oral Sedation?
A form of conscious sedation called oral sedation includes taking a tablet to calm you during dental operations. Benzodiazepines, commonly found in pills, have a relaxing impact on the central nervous system. From light to heavy oral sedation is possible.
With minimal sedation, you’ll be awake but relaxed. You may not remember the procedure. With moderate sedation, you may not be able to respond to commands, but you’ll still be able to breathe and maintain a heartbeat. Some people may experience side effects from oral sedation, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.
How is Oral Sedation Administered?
Oral sedation is typically administered in pill form. The patient will take the pill before their appointment. The pill will usually be a benzodiazepine, such as Valium or Ativan. The dosage will be based on the patient’s weight and the severity of their anxiety. The pill will take effect within 30-60 minutes. The patient will remain awake during the procedure but will be very relaxed.
What are the Benefits of Oral Sedation?
There are many benefits to oral sedation. The most obvious advantage may be that it can make you feel more at ease while having dental work done. This can be especially helpful if you have anxiety or fear about going to the dentist. Oral sedation can also help reduce pain and discomfort during dental procedures. In addition, oral sedation can help reduce bleeding during dental procedures. And finally, oral sedation can help reduce swelling and bruising after dental procedures.
What are the Risks of Oral Sedation?
There are a few risks associated with oral sedation. Drowsiness is the most frequent adverse reaction and can persist for several hours after the sedative has worn off. There is also a small risk of vomiting and nausea and a very small risk of choking. In rare cases, people may experience an allergic reaction to the medication.
How Should I Prepare for Oral Sedation?
If your dentist has recommended oral sedation for your next dental procedure, it is important to be well-prepared to ensure a safe and successful experience. The following advice will help you get ready for oral sedation:
- Choose a reputable dentist who is experienced in administering oral sedation. Be sure to ask about their credentials and experience level.
- Make sure you understand all the instructions given to you by the dentist. If you have any questions, ask them before the procedure.
- Follow all of the pre-procedure instructions given to you by the dentist. This may include fasting for a certain period of time before the procedure.
- Wear comfortable clothing to the appointment and avoid wearing any jewelry or other items that could get in the way during the procedure.
- Have someone drive you to and from the appointment, as you will not be able to drive yourself after receiving oral sedation.
The Different Levels of Oral Sedation
Sedation is a type of conscious sedation that involves taking a pill before your dental appointment. The pill will make you feel drowsy and relaxed during the procedure. Oral sedation differs from general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep during the procedure. There are four different levels of oral sedation, which are determined by the amount of medication that is given.
- The first level, minimal sedation, involves taking a very small dose of medication. This will usually make the patient feel drowsy and relaxed, but they will still be awake and able to respond to questions.
- The second level, moderate sedation, involves taking a larger dose of medication. This will make the patient feel more relaxed, and they may even fall asleep. However, they will still be able to respond to questions and follow commands.
- The third level, deep sedation, involves taking an even larger dose of medication. This will make the patient feel very sleepy and unable to respond to questions or follow commands.
- Finally, the fourth level, general anesthesia, is the most extreme form of sedation. This is typically only used in surgical procedures as it completely puts the patient to sleep.
The Risks Associated with Oral Sedation
Oral sedation has a few risks but is generally mild and easily managed. Drowsiness is the most frequent adverse reaction and can last for several hours after the sedative has worn off. Following your appointment, you will require a ride home. Other possible side effects include: – Nausea and vomiting – Dizziness – Slurred speech – Dry mouth – Loss of balance Rare but serious side effects include: – Allergic reaction to the medication – Difficulty breathing – Cardiac arrest.
Oral sedation is a safe and effective way to help alleviate dental anxiety and make dental procedures more comfortable for patients. When administered properly by a trained professional, oral sedation can give patients a calm and relaxed experience. While some risks are associated with any sedation, these risks are minimal when oral sedation is used.
Patients should always consult their dentist or oral surgeon to see if oral sedation is right for them. With the help of a qualified dentist, oral sedation can be a great way to reduce anxiety and make dental procedures more comfortable.