Oral sedation, also known as conscious sedation, is a method of sedation dentistry that can produce a deeper state of relaxation than laughing gas. Producing a calm that is just this side of sleep, oral sedation is taken shortly before your treatment, enabling you to relax comfortably into a state of conscious sedation. You'll be awake and able to respond to any instructions from our dentists, but you'll also be deeply relaxed and won't remember the appointment afterward. Similar to nitrous oxide, risks and complications are incredibly low with oral conscious sedation
Advantages to Patients Include:
- Treatment is completed when you are in a more relaxed mood.
- You will have less difficulty sitting through a lengthy procedure.
- Multiple treatments and full mouth restorations can occur at during the same visit.
- Less discomfort after treatment.
The most commonly prescribed dental related drugs that treat anxiety belong to the “benzodiazepine” family. Drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, or Ativan. These drugs decrease anxiety by binding and toning down activity within “fear” receptors in the brain.
There are two different types of Benzodiazepines:
Sedative-Hypnotics: These drugs induce calm, including drowsiness and even sleep. This sleep state is actually a form of hypnosis which is a form of physiological sleep.
Anti-Anxiety Drugs: These are drugs which relieve anxiety and induce a state of calm and relaxation.
While benzodiazepines act as sedatives AND anti-anxiety drugs, some are highly targeted at areas within the brain which focus on sleep. Others act in a more specific way and target fear centers in the brain. In most cases, higher doses act as sedatives and induce sleep, while in lower doses, they reduce anxiety without sedation.
Benzodiazepines are also Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants (i.e. there can be a decline in blood pressure and breathing). It is important to note that they shouldn’t be mixed with other CNS depressants such as alcohol. Its important that you utilize the dose your dentist or doctor recommends. It is possible to overdose, and overdoses could lower your breathing to dangerously low levels, which could result in coma or death.
Please note that you shouldn’t travel on your own after you’ve taken any of these drugs. Make sure you have an escort, even if you traveled by bus or foot! It’s easy to become disorientated.