When the time comes to see the dentist, a lot of people experience a little bit of nervousness. This is completely normal, and is also something that everyone experiences differently. For you, seeing the dentist may be extremely difficult. There is nothing abnormal nor wrong with this; it is your unique experience and is likely due to an event that occurred at some point in your life.
We are not interested in telling anyone that they shouldn’t feel anxious about seeing the dentist. What we are interested in doing is helping our patients find the comfort and peace of mind they deserve. This isn’t always achieved with a friendly, personal manner of care alone. Sometimes, we need to rely on sedation to create the right atmosphere for dental care to happen as needed. One popular method of sedation is oral conscious sedation.
What is oral conscious sedation?
Prior to dental treatment, your dentist will administer a sedation service. To call it “sedation” may give the wrong impression. Usually, the medication prescribed is in the anxiolytic family, a type of medication that diminishes the responsiveness of the central nervous system to external stimuli.
What does it feel like to be sedated?
With the central nervous system on relative shut-down mode, patients feel a pleasant sense of calm. Their heart rate slows to a normal, healthy rate (not beating out of their chest). Breathing is deep and moderate versus shallow and fast. Ultimately, the sedation eliminates anxiety but the patient typically does not become extraordinarily sleepy. There is a chance, though, that a patient may fall asleep during treatment.
Oral conscious sedation differs from IV sedation in that the depth of relaxation is lighter. This is not a form of sedation that keeps a patient from being able to communicate with our staff. Swallowing and breathing still occur without assistance. Another plus is that pain medication is even more effective, which diminishes the gag reflex.
If a patient ingests medication, the body must metabolize it. As this occurs, the effects of the sedative wear off. This transition can take several hours, which is why patients need to arrange a safe ride home after their appointment.