Conscious sedation is the act of administering a relaxing sedative, either with or without analgesics. It is often given before minor treatment, either to make a procedure more comfortable or to calm the nerves of an anxious patient.
Conscious sedation can be given through an IV line, orally or sometimes intramuscularly. Generally it will take affect quite quickly, though oral sedation can sometimes take up to an hour depending on the medicine and dose used. Feelings of drowsiness have been used to describe the sensation of conscious sedation, alongside the feeling of having had too much to drink. There is a possibility you may fall asleep during the procedure due to the relaxation, but it will be a natural sleep from which you can be easily woken by the voices of the care team. You will also be regularly monitored throughout the procedure to check that your blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and breathing are maintained.
Because the sedatives are not necessarily painkillers, you will still need to be given local anaesthesia in the area of the dental procedure. However, if you are uncomfortable with being given injections, the dentist will wait until the sedative has taken effect before administering the local anaesthetic.
It is likely that after the procedure is finished you may not remember it. You will also feel drowsy and possibly slightly sick so it is recommended to take it easy for 24 hours without alcohol or exercise. Eating a good meal is recommended to help restore some of your energy and you can return to your usual activities the following day.
Conscious sedation is a very safe procedure, practiced frequently. Blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are monitored throughout the procedure and during recovery.
At Scott Arms Dental Practice some of our dentists are trained in conscious sedation and are happy to offer it alongside any treatment you may be having that distresses you. The intravenous method is used, whereby the sedative is injected into a vein prior to treatment. It is a popular choice because it takes effect quickly. It is frequently opted for during the placement of tooth implants.
If you are interested in having conscious sedation during a procedure, speak to your dentist who will assess you for suitability. Most people can have conscious sedation but some contraindications include pregnancy, some instances of glaucoma and certain allergies.